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March 26th, 2002

In 1990, there was an awful winter storm on February 14th. It was called the Valentine's Day Massacre for the damage it did to trees, houses, and power lines. This all due to freezing rain, which is when precipitation forms as liquid rain up in the clouds, but then falls into colder air below. This supercools it, in other words it becomes liquid water at a temperature of less than 32 degrees F. Thus, when it splats on the cold ground, it freezes instantly. Makes for very icy and treacherous roads but worse, tree branches and utility lines can rapidly get a thick coating of clear ice on them, and since this ice is very heavy, they can break and fall down.

In 1990 I was without power for 48 hours. At the time I didn't have any pets, and lived in kind of a bachelor townhouse, so I basically just spent a miserable couple of days working and sleeping in my office.

Now, however, we have two dogs, two cats, and a large fish tank with some rather expensive fish. And the forecast for tonight is for freezing rain. According to the weather forecast, SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS OF ICE POSSIBLE. I am very nervous. If it's as bad as it was twelve years ago, I have no idea how I am going to keep the fish alive, or what we will do with the dogs once the house cools down. In a small fit of planning ahead, I bought two moderate sized UPS's at Best Buy tonight, and one is charging while running the fishtank heater and lift pumps while the other is just charging on its own. They're rated for 30 minutes powering a desktop PC with 15" monitor, so hopefully they'll be good for much longer just running a couple of tiny water pumps. If the water gets cold, I can warm it up by adding some very warm water from the sink (the hot water gets that way via natural gas), so maybe I haven't had too bad an idea here.

Still, the eternal worrier worries.

Closely watching the weather charts and radar animations, it looks like the worst of it won't be here for a couple of hours yet, which gets us up towards daybreak. I'm hoping for a miracle. Or for the surface temperature to climb above freezing. Or for this to fall as sleet or snow instead of liquid water. Everyone should hope with me.

thanks I guess

Well, all y'all who were trying to help me wish away the freezing rain by wishing for snow, thanks I guess. We apparently avoided the freezing rain entirely, and it all came down as snow. Six inches of it, in fact. On the 26th of March. Pretty amazing.

We never lost power, although someone who works with me called in this morning saying they were without power. But they live on a farm 15 miles east of here, so their situation might be different.

One question is... it's supposed to be in the 50's later this week. Do I bother shoveling this off my driveway? Hm.

on comfort

After slogging around all day in uncomfortable (but waterproof at least) boots in the six inches of snow (rapidly turning to slush), and being vaguely discontent at the prospect of shoveling my driveway, it occurs to me to think positive.

  • Hot chocolate
  • Rounding up friends and going sledding at Orchard Downs
  • Building a big roaring fire in the fireplace and then getting naked in front of it
  • How quiet and bright fresh snow makes it seem outside.

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szasz
Charley

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