Sunday, March 9, 2014

That was something

OK. Now that was an ice storm.

And before I go any further, let me note that I know whatever aggravation Kim and I suffered from Friday's ice storm pales in comparison to the hundreds, if not thousands, of other people in the county who lost cars, or power, or portions of their homes, or others kinds of damage of which I'm not aware.

In some respects, this storm might have been as devastating as Hurricane Hugo which swept through the Carolinas back in September of 1989 and left a swath of damage that still lingers in our collective memory. Hugo is still the stick by which we measure the fury of other local storms that have come and gone.

Friday's storm came close.

We have two maple trees in our smallish front yard, and for description's sake, I'll label them the Left Tree and the Right Tree.

The Right Tree has power lines to both my house and my neighbor's house running through the branches. Last year, we had to repair our sewer line, which runs perilously close to the tree. Some of the tree's roots were removed as a trench was dug to the street, and for a while I thought we might lose the tree.

There also seems to be evidence of a past infection, which I also thought might weaken the tree.

But nothing happened. The tree survived the ice storm without nary losing a twig. In fact, we never lost power to the house. Amazing.

The Left Tree, which I regarded as the healthier tree, lost two huge boughs, about an hour apart from each other's fall. They landed without damaging the house, although they did fill my front yard with significant lumber. The second bough also partially blocked my new front-to-back driveway, trapping our cars.

We could hear trees popping and cracking all morning long. It was a storm with a voice.

But we were lucky, and we know it.

By Friday afternoon, the warming sun had appeared and began melting the ice. When I got home from work (yes, the bank was open and operating on a generator — although I was caught in the elevator for a 15-second power outage), I started cutting out a path with a carpenter's handsaw to open the driveway. Fortunately, and for a reasonable fee, a man with his drive-by chain saw showed up, and within a half-hour, my yard was cleared.

I'll still need an arborist to repair the broken limbs on the Left Tree, which will now allow a cascade of abundant sunlight to fall on the left side of our cottage garden out front. It's the Left Tree that I now hope survives.

Herewith are some photos I've included as a personal memento to archive the ice storm:

The first limb is down from the Left Tree.

A second fallen branch adds to the lumber pile.

Can we get out? Don't really want to chance it.

Fallen trees block our alley — and our access to the outside world.

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