Monday, January 15, 2007

Now We Freeze

Testing the strength of mankind and animals ability to cope with weather, Mother Nature has given us a respite from sleet and freezing rain leaving a deep freeze now to contend with.

Predicted high today 25 degrees, with a low of 4 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun shines leaving a ice covered land that blinds the eyes. There is no wind (thankfully) to further impact the bone chilling cold upon the body or wreak havoc upon ice laden tree limbs.

Oklahomans are beginning the enormous task of repair. The devastation of the storm is reflected by the numbers - over 122,000 people are without power; Oklahoma Highway Patrol has reported over 200 traffic accidents since Friday night resulting in the death of 15 people; at least 10 areas have Red Cross or locally organized emergency shelters established (at least two of which are full); several communities are operating on generators to run water plants to provide water; some areas are without phone service; one man was found dead from suspected exposure to the severe cold. President Bush has now approved federal aid to 77 Oklahoma counties.

My sons just called from the small town near our home. Our phone service is still out and through the night my son was able to get only one text message out via his cell phone. They had a long night without power. On our acre of property we have over 25 oak and pecan trees that stand 40 feet in height. Several larges limbs fell yesterday evening - two times our dog had the misfortune of being underneath the tree the limb fell from, but other than experiencing close calls she is fine - one tree limb measuring about 8 inches across toppled and bounced trunk first into the sliding glass door on the house, but through the grace of God was placed in it's fall where the limb slid down the glass and did no damage outside giving the boys a huge scare. Fortunately over the years we have removed trees from within a distance of 30 feet from the house, so even with a complete break at ground level a tree falling should not cause severe structural damage to the house.

Remarkably my sons are in good spirits. Their complaints are few and given the circumstances laughable. One of my constant "Momma gripes" was how they waited until the last minute to get jobs done around the house. As my guys go, putting off doing laundry is at the top of that list. They are now finding themselves facing the possibility of doing sniff tests to determine what is the most presentable clothing they can find in the dirty pile. The towns laundry-mats are closed from power loss. They had attempted to find a place in town to stay last night, but as they say the inns were all full - so now they are washing up with spit baths from water heated over a Coleman stove and dreaming of a hot shower. The refrigerator has defrosted so they are using up what they can or living out of an ice chest placed out on the porch. Cooking has never been a high priority for my oldest son and he was questioning the shelf life of eggs at room temperature. When they get home, hard boiling them will be a priority.

Being cut off and isolated from phone and TV has been a worrisome problem for the boys. My younger boy (nearly 16 and an A student) was worried about missing school. While on the phone with them I was able to find the information on the internet about his school being closed tomorrow, so he has time to clean up his act (hopefully) before attending again. For my sons, the information highway is being routed through a 10 mile journey to town to get a cell phone signal (the tower within sight from our property is down) and a phone call placed 70 miles away to keep up with the news. When they called last night after finding that there was no place to stay in the small town we live near my older son said they thought they would travel nearly 30 miles to a larger town to stay. He was dismayed to hear that that town was in worse shape, with city-wide devastation from ice and power loss resulting in shelters being full and rumors of price-gouging going on at motels and gas stations. He doesn't know the half of the story either as to how bad the storm really is - there just isn't enough time to convey it to him with the limited time we have to talk over his cell phone.

Our family's story is only one of thousands in the area. We are extremely fortunate compared to many this storm has affected.

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posted by Is It Just Me? at 10:41 AM