Tag Archives: ice storm 2009

Ice Storm: The end

Last night, when my husband went home at bedtime to repack our overnight bag, he returned too quickly — so I knew that our power must be restored. Yippee!

We hastily cleaned up the house we were staying in, packed our groceries and our bags (we’d just that day moved most of our freezer’s contents, based on the thermometer inside) and returned to our abode. I noticed while setting the time on the alarm clock that it was still less than one hour since power had been restored. I marvel at this. We’ve been checking relatively frequently, but I was unpleasantly aware that power could be returned soon after a check, or during the night, and we would be elsewhere when we could have been home. I’m so glad that didn’t happen.

With the adrenaline from the news, we started putting the house back together before crashing into our own bed, in our heated home.

Now we can host the very small Super Bowl party that was on the schedule.

Others in our area still wait, though. Carroll Electric reports that it has 16,000 customers are still lacking power. SWEPCO states it has so far restored power to 92% of its customers that lost power. SWEPCO has 1,150 personnel working today. On the news last night, it was reported that five of the shelters in Fayetteville have closed, because they’re no longer needed. Oh, and Ozarks Electric (which spans the Arkansas/Oklahoma border) has 22,000 customers still without power.

KNWA TV news seems to have good coverage at its website at this point.

View the entirety of my coverage.

Ice storm in Siloam Springs

The ice should all be gone before the sun goes down today. I’m basing this on the forecasted high of 58 degrees, with full sun.

My husband’s been posting photos (and links to his entire album of photos) of this storm all week. There are some stunning ones, and others clearly illustrate how much ice we actually had.

The power (I’m loving, this week, how that word can be understood two ways in all these posts. We have no electricity, but we’re also powerless over our situation.) has been returning to what seems like nearly all corners of Siloam Springs.

We called the Siloam Springs Electric Department this morning, to see if they could tell us anything about our situation. At least this person was interested, and seemed helpful. Hopefully we’ll hear something when he’s able to ask someone higher up (they’re all in the field, of course).

It’s now been 86+ hours without power at our home, covering four whole nights. I’m really tired of writing these posts — I just want to be back in my own home, with luxurious amenities (as I called them yesterday) such as heat, lights, a functional stove, and a working refrigerator and freezer.

Ice storm: Hour 64

Still without power at our house. That makes 64+ hours straight (so far). When we went to check on it this morning, after sleeping at a warm friend’s house, the house was 43 degrees inside. We ran the small gas-powered wall heater, as has been our few-day custom. Up ’til now, doing this has raised the temperature inside a whole degree. We waited around, expecting the same this time, but it didn’t happen in the amount of time we were willing to stay. It must have been at the very bottom of degree 43.

Our hopes, as we drove to the house, were momentarily raised, as we saw an electric department crew working near our home, at a place where we thought it might help us. Still no power for us, though. I mused, as I paced my home, that hope truly does spring eternal — no matter how many times I’ve checked without the power being back on, every time I work up the emotional fortitude to go check, some part of me is really hoping that this time it will be back on. [I know that, seeing the crew working, shouldn't mean that our power is/might be on. If the crew is working, even if they are working on our particular problem, that probably means it isn't operational yet. I know this, and yet I hope.]

The weather forecast shows a high of 47 degrees for today, and it’s already above freezing, at 34! We opened all the blinds and curtains on the south side of our house this morning before heading for warmth again. (We did this yesterday, too, for the scant hours when we had sun.)

Newspapers and radio stations are starting to function again.

Tonight, if we remain powerless, we’ve been offered the home of friends (with electricity) who are leaving town for the weekend. A place to ourselves! Sounds heavenly — although not nearly as nice as my own home, with heat, sounds.

National news sources are (apparently, based on all the Facebook comments we’re receiving from far-flung friends) saying it could be mid-February before power is restored to everywhere. This I have no doubt about; in fact, it seems sooner than I would have expected for some rural areas near here. The prognosis remains much better for those homes with electricity provided by Siloam Springs Electric Department.

Carroll Electric has yet to provide an estimate of when they’re hoping for full restoration of power (that I’ve seen, anyway). They are providing at least daily updates on progress, though. SWEPCO is aiming for 95% restoration by midnight Saturday.

A closer-to-home newspaper, in Oklahoma, posted a page of photos in conjunction with its special ice storm edition yesterday.

NWA ice storm, for the nth time

dragon-claw-ice

The word tonight, which is actually from this afternoon, is that the city of Siloam Springs is hoping to have power restored to the rest of the lines before Saturday. Most should be done tomorrow, but there are always exceptions. Crews from Texas have been called in to help, so tomorrow should be very productive. ADDING: Oh, I also learned there are 1,000 homes in Siloam Springs still lacking power. (In a town of 14,000 residents, that’s a lot of households. Still a decent percentage.)

This actually extends/lengthens/puts off further the projection I received from the city yesterday, of an additional 24-48 hours from then. Based on the old word, we could expect (or at least hope) for power by Friday mid-afternoon. The new forecast, from today, for “before Saturday,” is several hours later. Still, as I stated yesterday, it’s better to have some idea, some word.

We’re sleeping at a heated home tonight. Planning nothing more than a couple hours (sometimes less) ahead of time, and we canceled the party we were supposed to host Saturday. Even if we do have power by then, the house is a wreck, and we’re spent.

We took some fun photos this evening just before sunset. As everything warmed up to about 34 degrees, with a touch of sunshine, the ice started coming off trees and power lines, often in chunks:

backyard-devastation

snowcone-in-birdbath

The sunshine, and the (unvented, we think) small gas-powered wall heater raised the temperature inside our house this afternoon from 44 degrees to 47 degrees.

Earlier posts about the storm:
the first one
the early main one
a quick update with projected outage time
today’s earlier post

NWA ice storm 2009, again

The temperature in my home is 44 degrees. I’m seeing 46 as the forecasted high, but I’m also seeing 34 as that apex (from more reliable sources, unfortunately). I’m really hoping for that 46-degree mark, since that would warm up my cold house significantly more than a outside temperature still colder than the internal temperature.

KC Power and Light is sending crews to somewhere in Arkansas (more than 100 people) to help.

I’m hearing radio reports that emergency shelters in Fayetteville and Springdale are full (but they’re still serving hot meals).

SWEPCO (AEP) is saying: “The current estimated time for 95% restoration is midnight Saturday. Restoration will proceed as conditions allow.” Carroll Electric states it’s still assessing the damage. (Neither of these power companies serve Siloam Springs, which has its own electric department / company.)

It’s still difficult to find information of any kind. One area newspaper company’s website is still down. I’ve heard via Facebook that NPR is back up, which is good news. Strike that, our local NPR station‘s signal is still down in Siloam — both via the air waves and via the internet.

Along with the above earnest prayer for warm temperatures and a return of power, I’m also (still) praying for the utility workers and other area residents, and a continued lack of wind.

My previous posts about the storm and its aftermath: The first one, the main one and a quick update with projected outage time.

Edited (see above) to correct something I misunderstood.

Ice storm 2009 update

Just heard, via newspaper contacts (Thanks!), that if you (I) don’t have power now, and you live in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, the projection for the return of electricity is 24-48 hours.

I feel better just knowing (Knowledge is power, and all that.). Now we need to decide what to do.

Stay warm!

NWA newspaper (ice storm) news

At the top of one local daily newspaper’s website this morning: “Note from the Publisher: The Morning News was without electricity Tuesday and was unable to publish a print edition. We apologize for any inconvenience. We will publish the Wednesday and Thursday editions on Wednesday and deliver them together on Thursday. Our web edition is up to date.”

This, it should go without saying, doesn’t help people without power and internet.

I know the other (competing) newspaper company (which I used to work for) had to drive to one specific plant to print all the various newspapers and editions, but they did publish print editions today. It looks, however, like that company’s website is down today.

At our house in central Siloam Springs, we’ve been without power for 15 21 hours and counting. The temperature inside has been as low as 48 degrees. We’re hearing reports (online — accessed at someone else’s house, who has power and DSL (the cable internet is out for perhaps all of town?) and via the radio station that’s still transmitting) from power companies in the surrounding area (such as SWEPCO and Carroll Electric), but we can’t find out anything from the local electric department.

Apparently Siloam Springs Electric Department is telling local media outlets they’re too busy to talk (I’ve heard this from multiple sources).

Editorializing: This is not a good policy.

The Siloam newspaper this morning quotes City Administrator David Cameron as saying: “Electric crews were staying on top of restoring power; however, [they] have moved into the ‘damage control’ phase of the storm. This consists of clearing streets from downed power lines, atop houses, etc.”

The article continues: “Other city crews are working to keep the streets clear of trees and ice.”

I have no doubt that city crews are working hard, and I know they’re competent.

Siloam Springs Electric Department has requested help from other crews. They’re not alone; one of the other local power companies (I can’t remember which one, but probably all are in a similar situation) requested help from I think 40 other places.

Siloam has two emergency shelters open, at the National Guard Armory on Main and Lincoln streets (Red Cross), and at Assembly of God church (Genesis House).

This (again from the Herald-Leader) isn’t encouraging: “The armory is being activated for those that will see extended power outages,” Cameron said. (Emphasis added.)

On the television news at 6 p.m. last night (the station was without power for the 5 p.m. broadcast, and we were without power for the 10 p.m. broadcast), a long-time area resident said this was without a doubt the worst ice storm he’d seen. He cited the 2001 ice storm and the much-worse 1978 ice storm, declaring this one much worse again. We remember the spring 2007 storm, which was much milder; it hurt much plant life simply because it transpired so late in the year (March or April?).

The official word from the city of Siloam Springs when we called this afternoon: ‘There is no word. We’re issuing no statement.’

This part goes without saying: Trees are down, power lines are down. Along with prayers for the utility workers and other area residents (and a continuing lack of wind), I’m mourning the loss of so many magnificent trees. I’m trying to imagine what the town landscape will look like once all the trees are taken care of.

I’d add photos, but that would take more time, and this was ready to post at 10:30 this morning, until my location at the time lost power and internet. I’m tired.

Iced tree

In front of the house two doors down from mine:

ice-tree

It’s been sleeting/raining/icing/freezing-raining for about 24 hours now, and the forecast holds more of the same (with some chance of snow thrown in on top) through the night. Across town, friends’ power has been out, and back up. We’re still waiting for ours to more than flicker. Walking outside, you hear the ice creaking and the near-constant limb-breakage. The ice on the grass is nearly thick enough it doesn’t crunch when you walk on it. Arkansas, along with neighboring Oklahoma and Missouri, has declared a state of emergency.

Yesterday, it was forecasted that the entire region would be without power. At the time, I was somewhat incredulous. Now, just waiting. And rather than pondering whether we’ll lose power, we’re starting to ponder a hole in the roof. Our local electric department does have a good track record, though, something I’m thankful for.