Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ice Storms

I woke up this morning to the specter of a treacherous commute after an ice storm. This was not unexpected--I'd heard the weather forecast and taken the precaution of sprinkling some brine and salt on the walkway to my driveway. There was only a quarter inch of ice. The roads had been salted and were mostly clear. My driveway and car were another story, though.

Conditions were perfectly bad. The temperature was 32 F., so that quarter inch of ice was wet and slippery. It wasn't possible to stand upright unless your feet were up against something--a tire, for instance. After warming up the car, its icy coating only had to be scored and nudged to clear it away. Exiting the driveway included a few seconds of uncontrolled sliding, but I did make it out and got downtown without too much trouble.

The sidewalks! If they hadn't been treated, again, it was impossible to stand on them, much less walk on them. I had to walk in the street for part of my way from parking lot to office.

This kind of weather brings back bad memories of the major ice storm in late January, 2009. I didn't lose any trees, but the 2 inches of ice cracked off many large limbs, including all limbs on the north side of one of my pines. I wasn't able to break out of my driveway due to the large ridge of ice created by street plows. I was without heat and power for 3 days. The temperature in the house got down to the low 40s. Multiple layers of clothes, multiple blankets, a cap and gloves helped, but I was still darned cold! I lived on chips and salsa. The only candle I could find was inside a plastic Jack-o-Lantern. Fortunately, my iPod had a good charge, so I was able to listen to music while huddled up in bed. The cats lived under the covers, too. They were just as cold as I was. If I'd been able to have coffee, I'd have been a little less miserable, but everything was cold and lifeless. Twenty-four people in Kentucky died in that storm.

This time around, it looks like there won't be a thaw until Monday. I hope I'm able to get to my guitar lesson on Saturday since the following two Saturdays are holidays.

I've scoped out a mostly ice-free path back to my car. I'll leave here in about 45 minutes. I'm mainly concerned about making it up my driveway without getting stuck or sliding into the drainage depression.

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