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Memorable Winters

GERRY FISCHER


Part 2

The storm with a vengeance


I was awakened the night of January 26th, 2009, by what sounded like a crashing of objects falling onto the woods surrounding our house. Anyone who has been to our cabin, knows we don’t live in a field close to the woods, or on a lot nestled in a clearing surrounded by woods, we live “in the woods.” Would I build like this again? No, but I’m the guy who wanted to be Daniel Boone.

Going to the front door, I opened it to see and hear ice covered trees as big as two feet in diameter falling, and as they did, they crashed through other trees taking smaller ones with them. For about three or four minutes, I just stared out in amazement. We had two outside security lights over our shed doors that provided clear viewing. There was an ominous cracking sound near my shed where the electrical service comes into our cabin. Then, I watched as a tree fell across our power line and everything went dark. Our heat pumps went out, our electric range, water heater, radio, television, water, bathroom facilities and telephone. It was cold, and we were without a source of heat, other than a large Buck stove in the back, and a small insert in the front room.

The storm began on January 26th and lasted through the 28th, making it a 3-day event. The worst ice storm to hit Kentucky in over two hundred years, and the worst recorded, was in full swing. On the 26th, we had ice and then snow to a depth of four inches. During the next two days, we had six more inches of unexpected snow.

The only bright spot was the fact that my mother, for whom we had bought a new mobile home and set on our farm, was visiting at my brother’s house in Louisville; however, my daughter lived with mom, and her electricity was out as well. We had cell phones, and the next day after a treacherous drive in our newly acquired 4-WD Tracker, Lori joined us. While Fran and Lori took stock of our food situation, we had no water stock piled, nor were able to get to the shed where we had a deep freeze filled with venison, beef and chicken, but little way to prepare it. Microwave and range out.

I brought in as much wood as I could find space for and built a roaring fire in the Buck stove. It was four feet long, three feet wide and stood about three feet off the floor on six-inch legs. We placed three stock pots filled with snow and ice on the stove, and melted water to pour into the toilet tank, that problem was solved. In the attic, I found some foam pallets we got for the grandchildren, when they wanted to sleep on the floor. There was one for each of us, and we had plenty of blankets and quilts. Beds were made on the floor around the stove, and water boiled on it for coffee. We had ground coffee and instant, but we had to use the instant since our Mr. Coffee ran on electricity.

We went to the cars and listened to WMMG Radio for news and weather, read books and played board games, and of course I made many trips for wood, water and ice. We ate soups made on the stove top, opened the stove door and roasted weenies, and ate cheese sandwiches. We read by candle light at night, played board games, and cards to amuse ourselves.

On the sixth or seventh day, I was able to get out and buy a 5 KW-generator. Things became better with television. This and a few other storms taught us to anticipate and be prepared.

My friends Hassel Amburgy got us back in electric when RECC got the line in service, 10 days later, and Kerry Cox came out and fixed some frozen pipes and got us back to normal. Two super people in my book. We survived the worst recorded Kentucky winter storm. Looking to history, this storm was nothing. (See part 3, next week the really worst winter storm)