Sunday, March 01, 2015

Winter #3

Winter #3 took up pretty much the entire second half of February. And two weeks of winter on Planet Georgia is about as much as anyone can stand.

It began with a shot of Arctic air, once again pulling temperatures below 10°F overnight. It warmed up long enough to start raining on that Monday evening, then it got cold again. And kept raining. You know what that means:

So pretty. If you don’t have to live in it.

The power started blinking on and off around 7pm Monday night. The computers, DSL, and TV are all on UPSes, so we were okay for a while. The outages started getting more frequent and longer, and we grabbed flashlights. Just after 8pm, it went down… and stayed down. For 71 hours. We lit some candles, cursed the ice, and I shut down my desktop before the UPS ran out of steam. All my mobile gadgets had a full charge, and the TV held up for another half hour before the UPS ran down. We kept ourselves occupied and went to bed when we felt like it. All night long, we heard the cracking of branches (or entire trees) coming down. (Daughter Dearest, who was sleeping upstairs, said she hoped she didn’t end up with a tree wanting to cuddle up in bed with her. None did.)

In the morning, it was pretty chilly in the bedrooms despite the fireplace insert doing a fine job. We grabbed some cold breakfast and went out to survey the situation. The roads weren’t icy, but they had a few obstructions:

Kind of hard to drive over

It was then that we realized the one thing we didn’t do the day before: get gas for the generator. A neighbor with a Jeep said he could get over or around what was on the road, and offered to take our gas cans to town. With nothing better to do in the meantime, we got the chainsaw (and we had gas for that) and got to work clearing the road. Down the road, we saw other people sawing away at the downed trees on either side of FAR Manor. With the southbound lanes cleared, the wife called the guy she had working on the farm and had him bring the tractor up. There were some larger trees in the northbound lanes, and once I got chunks cut he would push them to the side with the tractor. It took maybe an hour or so to get the road open.

The gas got delivered, and I got the generator started (with the help of a little starter fluid). Voila, we had lights, refrigerators, furnace—and the Internet! The phone company buried fiber all along the road a couple years ago, so the phone and DSL were working. What wasn’t working was pretty much anything that ran on 240V service: water pump, hot water heater, stove, and dryer. We had water jugs and a toaster oven, though, and we were careful to run only one high-wattage appliance at a time. I had the work laptop, so I was able to get work stuff done.

On breaks, I got outside and took pictures:

Underexposed and overdramatic

We ended up getting Big V and bringing her to the manor. She hasn’t been taking good care of herself lately, and by the second day she was heading toward Diabetic Coma Land. Wife called 911 and they sent an ambulance to get her to the hospital. Otherwise, life went on, a bit of a hassle but we were warm and connected. We had to dump five gallons of gas into the generator twice a day, until the power came back on at 7pm Thursday evening.

But we weren’t out of the soup just yet. Another shot of moisture was coming. At first, the weather dudes were talking the dreaded “wintry mix,” then changed over to snow as we got closer to the actual event. It came in Tuesday night, of course. The power blipped once but stayed up—I rather thought it would, as all the stuff that was going to come down already had. But it snowed all day and night Wednesday. So here’s what it looked like outside the window come Thursday:

We usually get this much snow in March.

The Boy was here, so he took Mason and Skylar out to the pasture to slide down the hill while I worked. The temperatures were already above freezing, so Mason came in pretty much wet everywhere. Only his t-shirt was dry, so I got him into dry clothes. Meanwhile, he was complaining because he wanted to be out in it some more. (Un)fortunately for him, Mason-sicles are not allowed in the manor. It has stayed above freezing for a couple of days, so all that’s left are a few patches of slushy snow in shaded spots.

It’s March now. C’mon, spring!

4 comments:

  1. Ugh. Freezing rain is the worst. You can get dump on w/ snow and be fine, but rain that turns to ice? Everything gets messed up. I'll take my 5-6 feet of snow over that any day. (Although we had -35F temps, not talking wind chill either, and that was not fun at all.)

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  2. Sounds really cold. I haven't forgotten snow and ice from my other life in England, but nothing like you've just had to experience. Stay safe and warm!

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  3. Looks like the ice storm we had a few years ago. My heart goes out to you - trees frozen in ice are never a good sign. Please stay safe, Larry. We love you.

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  4. And today (Friday the 6th) we're back to a light dusting of snow and/or sleet. Oh well, the roads are clear.

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