Wednesday, January 28, 2009

442. Hurricane Ike (Ice) Revisited

Back in September, (the remnants of) Hurricane Ike passed through Louisville, ripping hundred year old trees from their roots, wreaking havoc on roofs and power lines, closing most schools and businesses for nearly two weeks while the city went without electricity and most services. Fortunately, the temperatures at that time were moderately warm and there was little precipitation once the storm passed through, which was on a Sunday. As reported in the last post, the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 has been hit by an ice storm leaving us in very similar circumstances to the outcome of Ike, the difference being the temperature and the precipitation.

Very shortly after entering the previous post, sometime around 2:45 am the power went out in most of the city, and since that time in several surrounding counties, and presently remains so. It is Hurricane Ike all over. Except, the temperature is in the 20s, there is a cold wind, there is an inch and a half of ice, under which is three inches of snow, and over which is three more inches of snow. Schools, colleges, and businesses have announced they are closing tomorrow and Friday, much they way they did in September. Most remained closed for nearly two weeks back then. Can we afford it all again? A call to the LG&E service center reports all power is expected to be restored in seven to ten days. Seven to Ten Days!

No amount of preparation by the city street crews can counter the effects of having no electricity in the areas you serve. With street lights out in a number of locations, and ice crystals bending over some of the city's biggest trees, many of which snapped, while others offer a very delicate canopy over cars, which was the case with my car this morning. While one tree did snap, another simply leaned over the car and I drove out as if exiting Batman's tunnel into Gotham City.

Out at my mother's, the situation is both better and worse. She has electricity, although it has come and went a number of times. She also has considerable damage to her home and property from falling trees, although nothing apparently pierced the roof. Her car is below one such branch. And because there are downed power lines in the street in front of her house, several cars have detoured around the lines and into her yard, only to find that very slight eighteen inch hill in her side yard is maybe seventeen inches more than most cars can navigate through snow and ice. She reports a van and a wrecker are presently well lodged in her side yard. Both have been abandoned, and the detour is cutoff by their presence. As in the picture above, trees and cars have become rather familiar with each other.

The governor and the mayor are here and there on the media (so I am told) explaining the reality that there is little anyone can do under the circumstances. And since the two major utility companies serving the greater part of the Commonwealth are German-owned, getting someone local on the phone is proving difficult. I could make a pitch for municipally owned utilities here, but I wont. Even if our's were locally owned, the overwhelming nature of the storm probably would allow the same response, which seems to be very little.

Like the van and the wrecker at my mother's - abandoned - I've left my house for warmer climes, those of a friend from where I am presently posting. My nephew is serving as a sentinel keeping watch over the house where the temperature is hovering in the 30s. There is a gas-fired faux-fireplace which keeps an area of about 10 square feet in a radius immediately in front of it quite toasty. I wasn't content with that idea - my nephew was.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.