I know many of you are saying there isn’t anything funny about this weather and power outages. For the most part that is true. But my husband and I decided to try to make the best of it, particularly since we didn’t have any choice.
After having nothing hot to eat or drink for two days, I remembered we had an outdoor grill. Yes, I know, “duh!” Anyway, I managed to get a pot of hot water boiling with tea bags and poured that into a thermos. I made a couple of hot sandwiches and then the propane ran out. OK, what next?
My husband decided to fire up our small chiminea. Guess what, you can do a baked potato in a chiminea. If you find a grill to put over the top, you can make a cup of hot chocolate. I then ran out of ideas and the wood chips for the chiminea. We were reduced to coming up with creative ideas for the shadows being cast on the ceiling by our candle. Those ideas ranged from an alien rabbit to a really angry moose.
Seriously, I am worried about folks who don’t have enough warm blankets or can’t get to a shelter. I’m sad for the many trees that we all have lost and that will take years to replace. But I learned a lesson: Being forced to slow down and spend some quality, if chilly, time with a loved one is something we should do more often and not just when nature makes that decision for us!
Last night we learned the hard way how fragile the pear tree is. A big section of it came crashing down on our roof about 10 p.m.
When we ran outside to assess the damage, my wife hit the ice on the driveway and went down hard, as well. She bounced back up, but our tree appears to be down and out, maybe for good.
This is the second — and probably last — time a section of our tree has come down. Wind brought a third of it down two years ago.
We’ve decided to have the remaining sections of the tree taken out. It was a tiny thing when I brought it home in the trunk of my car in 1994.
We know that our loss is tiny compared to what thousands have endured throughout the state during this ice storm.
But everyone in our family will still mourn the loss, especially our children, ages 11 and 9. They are both pleading with us not to take it out.
There just can’t be enough said about a group of Good Samaritans that are willing to brave icy conditions and the freezing cold to free you from feeling trapped inside your home, especially when you’re elderly or disabled.
This is how Ella Loftis and her 73-year-old mother, Cleota, felt Monday after several of their neighbors in the 700 block of SE 50 came to their home and cleared tree branches from their yard, driveway and a ramp for Cleota’s wheel chair.
“The neighborhood’s just been wonderful,” said Loftis, who uses oxygen tanks to help her breathe and was concerned about feeling trapped in her home all morning. “They all deserve a pat on the back, young and old.”
Loftis said her concerns subsided about 3 p.m. after the helpers finished clearing the debris from her already frozen yard. Now, she and Cleota can focus on staying warm after being without power for several hours.
“God’s with us, we’ll do fine,” Loftis said, who added that she had wrapped her mother in sleeping bags to keep her warm.
Meanwhile, her husband, John, figured out how they could use heat from their gas stove to warm their home.
By Micah Gamino, Staff Writer
These are treacherous times to be walking the streets of Oklahoma City. I was in the Heritage Hills neighborhood interviewing a man removing a fallen tree limb from NW 15th Street when ice and twigs from another limb came cascading down on top of me, raising a pretty good welt on my forehead. Meanwhile, another newsroom employee slipped and fell on the ice. With slippery ice below and falling ice above, it seems like a pretty good time to stay inside. — Randy Ellis
By the looks of the students playing Guitar Hero on a big-screen TV and others with legs up on tables, cradling laptops, Oklahoma Christian University was taking a power outage in stride.
Half the campus — including classroom buildings, offices and apartments — has been without power since about 3 a.m. The half of the Edmond campus that includes the Edward L. Gaylord Student Activity Center has power, and students were notified via text messages (at least those who had signed up for the service) that there was food, heat and Internet access if they wanted to make the trek over.
Students studied and played games of pool or surfed the Web, dressed as they normally would for an early final. Still, some had been inconvenienced: One couple fed a bottle to their 5-week-old baby; another student, an Arizona resident who said she would graduate this week, worried her parents wouldn’t be able to see her graduation and Oklahoma for the first time.
Finals have been rescheduled for tomorrow and later, depending on the weather.
Junior Spencer Goad was playing pool in the student center, wondering how his delayed finals would affect his plans to return home to Oregon Thursday evening.
As things stand, he has three finals Tuesday. “It’s not over until 7:15,” he said.
If they’re rescheduled because of a continued outage, he said he wasn’t sure what to focus on.
“The hard part is knowing what to study for right now … what final is coming up next,” he said.
Jeff Bigelow, an associate professor who chairs the electrical engineering department, acknowledged the difficulty on students such as Goad.
“I know it’s stressful to the students to have all their schedules switched around and delayed,” he said.
Bigelow cancelled a final because it wouldn’t affect students’ grades. One student who stood to gain from the final will be able to take it, Bigelow said.
Having an extra day to study can’t be all bad.
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer
Today, I’m jealous of people with garages.
It took me an hour this morning, with the help of my husband, to crack the coat of ice on my car enough to drive it.
My compact SUV was sealed in ice ranging from about a quarter-inch thick over the doors to a half-inch thick on the windshield to one and a half inches thick around the windshield wipers. His car was no better.
Both ice scrapers, unfortunately, were stuck inside the vehicles. With a gardening tool and a screwdriver, we chiseled the ice away enough to pry the driver’s side doors open.
Once we got that far, we kept cracking at the ice — carefully, to avoid breaking a window — as the defrosters started melting the frozen layers.
My toes and fingers were numb by the time we moved his car out of the driveway and had my windows cleared.
And just as we finished, more rain started falling and freezing. I left to get a covered spot in the parking garage at work before I had to face another sheet of ice with my garden weeder.
Wendy K. Kleinman
A slow commute to the office this morning included some interesting sights:
- As a train cleared a crossing in Edmond, the gates — burdened by ice– rose very slowly to open the roadway. While southbound vehicles were able to cross the tracks within 30 seconds, the gate blocking northbound traffic continued to labor to lift itself upright.
- Edmond and north Oklahoma City residential streets, in addition to being solid sheets of ice, are an obstacle course as tree limbs fall or bow down into the road.
- Two men heavily bundled up were walking down my street. Both looked at me pulling out of my driveway and just shook their heads at my idiocy.
- It’s nice to park in a garage so one doesn’t have to scrape ice first thing. But it’s not so nice when you push the garage door opener and nothing happens because there’s no power. That’s when it’s handy to have a teen-age son who has nothing better to do (no school, of course) to manually close the door so one doesn’t have to exit one’s car in the rain to close the door.
Last night, about 8, the electricity at my house in northwest Oklahoma City turned off. No big deal, I thought. It’ll come back on in a few minutes.
I was wrong.
About 1 1/2 hours later, power was restored.
Good things don’t last forever. My electricity turned off again about 3 a.m. today. It’s been out since.
Luckily, my in-laws, who live in Bethany haven’t lost power — yet. That’s where I’m writing this blog from and will stay indefinitely.
The ice storm most of Oklahoma is experiencing today doesn’t seem to be as bad as the ice storm of January 2007. Still, more customers are without power now than 11 months ago.
I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come when the weather and conditions get really nasty.
The Broadway Extension generally was a passable road this morning, but caution is warranted at exit ramps leading to stoplights and streets. Also, take care in accelerating from a full stop. An SUV fish-tailed, almost ramming my much smaller vehicle at Broadway and Britton.
– Yvette Walker, Director of Presentation
I can hear the hum of the power lines and see the lights flicker. A line has come down in a neighbor’s yard, so I am wondering if I am about to join the about 270,000 other utility customers in Oklahoma that don’t have power right now.
According to emergency management officials, that’s how many are out right now.
The situation in Tulsa, says Andrea Chancellor, spokeswoman for PSO Oklahoma, is bad.
Power lines in particular are a problem. They are down across the community — in some cases, criss-crossing a single customer’s yard, she said.
Even my situation is hazardous. While there isn’t a line down in my yard right now, firefighters warned me away from getting close to trees that are under power lines that still are up. Those trees could be hot, they told me.
I went back inside.
More to come later … if I stay in power.
Jack Money, Business Writer, The Oklahoman