Sunday, February 16, 2014

McCusker Journal - February 16, 2014

Ice Storm of 2014

This week we had a huge ice storm here in the south. Thanks to God, we survived it relatively unscathed. However, it was a journey.

Early Wednesday morning our power went out. That was the beginning. When Zoey and I looked out in the morning there were a few small branches on the ground that fell due to the ice in the night. I thought it was no big deal; we have several very tall hard pines in our yard that often fall when they get ice on them.

What we saw when we woke up. Not to bad.
We dealt with the power easily at first. We grabbed all our extra blankets (because it remained 32 degrees outside for the entire day) and got a couple candles and our camping lamp out for extra light. It was just after we settled in with out "power outage" gear that we heard the first crash.

It sounded like a gun shot going off right next to you. Your ears perked up as you anticipated the impact. A few seconds later came the earth shattering crash as the frozen pine branch shattered to the ground.

This happened all day. There would be several crack and crash at once, but then it would be almost half an hour and out of no where you would hear this heart wrenching "POW" as the branch ripped away from the trunk and plummeted toward the earth. The broken, shattered branches, most of them taller than I am, littered our entire yard. It even bent the fence separated our yard from the neighbors in half the full four feet to the ground. It was incredible the amount of damage the falling debris could cause.

The broken fence. The tree branch is almost resting on the ground.
Our entire back yard was full of tree debris.
By the end of the day, I felt like we had been in a war. The Ice Storm Wars, perhaps. I was completely out of ideas to keep us entertained (it's amazing how many subtle things we use power for!). Zoey and I sat in the middle of the living room floor in several layers of clothing covered with blankets. We had her toy trains set up all through the room in an elaborate trail of loops and bridges. I was completely on edge waiting for the next branch to fall, praying that it wasn't on the house.

Zoey and Zeus (black lab) racing trains.

It was a day of cold and stress and it wasn't just me. Our entire town looked dark and abandoned. Even the massive strip malls and largest stores were closed and without power. It appeared to be a ghost town on this dreary Wednesday in February.

Stephen had gone to work because twenty miles east there was little acknowledgment of the chaos that was happening to our homes and our lives. Their day went fairly normal, if not a little cold. Thankfully, the roads were mostly free of ice and many without power could find somewhere with electricity to at the very least warm up.

We decided to hunker down with our friends. We were still completely without power or heat, but we made the best of it. It was actually a lovely evening, if not a little cold. We had all of our camping equipment out so we made us some stew and hot chocolate, just like we would camping in our tents.

My little reading corner, complete with candles and soup.
This is the same as the previous picture, but I love the captured ambiance.
It turns out reading by candlelight is not as romantic as it sounds.
We had candles everywhere, lighting the entire room. Among the chaos, stress and complete unpredictability, there was a moment entirely filled with peace. No matter what happens on the outside, when you can come together with friends to laugh and encourage each other, there is joy and an overwhelming feeling that despite everything, it will all truly be okay.

That night we huddled in sleeping bags and blankets and tried not to move much because it was below freezing outside of your own personal cocoon. Nonetheless, we survived! Our power came on the next day. We were without power for a little over 24 hours. However, our friends and many others were without for three days.

Getting ready to start clean up with a very cute onlooker/supervisor.
Zoey made sure she and Benji (cat) were good and warm.
There were downed telephone poles and fallen tree debris all over the city. People banned together to help get it all cleared and there is still more to do. It took Stephen over three hours to make any sense of our yard, even with help. They hacked and sawed their way through the pile of limbs, which were still covered in ice. Thankfully, with the electricity back on, they could use the electric chain saw to make shorter work of it all. If nothing else, we have two almost five feet tall piles of firewood and kindling for our next camping trip.

The stacked piles of wood.
What a week. I think I might get a T-shirt, "Survived Storm of Ice 2014." It wasn't until late yesterday afternoon that I even felt like I had marginally caught up with the world. Now the city is up and running again and everyone has power. There is still much to clean up and reorder, but together we will make it happen.

Our two dogs were very glad to be back outside after the attack of the trees!
Look at those eyes!
This is the first time I have even hardly turned on a computer or sat down to write since Tuesday evening so I missed a few days of daily devotions and I apologize for that. I don't intend on going back to add those, instead, I choose to keep moving forward. I want to give the glory to God for the past couple days. They have been stressful and unpredictable, but they have also been a great gift. I know, with God, we can get through some pretty scary stuff and through it we can be come together lifting each other up and encouraging each other through every moment.

Ice brings destruction, but also beauty.
I pray for all those affected by this storm and that we can continue to come together to help each other out in these times of need. I know we weren't the only ones in the region affected by the weather this week and I pray for everyone with damage and sickness due to this crazy 2014 winter weather. It felt like a moment of survival, but with God we can survive anything this world can throw at us.

Romans 8:31 -- "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

1 comment:

  1. I so understand. Our power was out the better part of a week, but we didn't have whole trees go down. Glad to hear you made it through!