As I type this post, we are coming out of the worst ice storm anyone I know has ever experienced. We don’t get much snow in southwest Mississippi. We get even less ice. I remember one ice storm as a child, but it was nothing like this. So here’s our story.
Two weeks ago we began seeing snow in our weather forecast. That was not unusual, but by the time the snow is to arrive, the weather has changed. As that week progressed, the snow didn’t leave the forecast and freezing rain was added. Then sleet was added. Things looked rough for Monday, February 15th. We canceled everything and prepared to be shut in for the day. We were praying we wouldn’t lose electricity since we’re total electric except for our fireplace insert. We also have a well for water, so if we lose electricity we also lose water.
The sleet began to fall Monday around 2:00am and came down until around noon. The ground was solid white. It looked like snow, but it wasn’t. It was crunchy ice. It was so hard that we couldn’t build a snowman. Monday evening it rained more and the temperature got down to fourteen degrees or so that night. We didn’t lose electricity.
Backing up to Sunday night, it was already very cold and raining. Our water stopped working and we were like, oh boy, here we go. My dad went to check the well and was able to fix that problem. Something had frozen either open or closed and was preventing the water from flowing. Thankfully, that was fixed easily enough.
Tuesday was good. We had some flurries, but nothing super challenging. It was just cold.
Then came Wednesday and another round of sleet and freezing rain. You may wonder what the difference in the two is, I did too. Sleet falls as ice and bounces off light lines and such, falling to the ground. Freezing rain falls as liquid and accumulates on trees and power lines and stuff. So we got both most of the day Wednesday. Our lights began to flicker around 3:30pm or 4:00pm. We hustled around and got supper and I got a bath and washed my hair like a smart person. Lol. Around 5:00pm or so, we were plunged into darkness. We lit lamps and used flashlights. We had the fire in the insert for warmth. We had a cold night, but thank God for lots of blankets!
Thursday morning my dad got our small generator out and we ran the fan on our insert and charged our phones and flashlights. We went to my grandparents’ house about thirty miles away to get baths and some homemade soup that afternoon.
Thursday morning mom and I went in to town to try to find something to eat. We wanted some chicken. We sat in line at the chicken joint for nearly thirty minutes only to be told they were out of chicken. Bummer! So we joined the extremely long line at the burger joint and waited around forty-five minutes or more. People were coming in from another road trying to get in this line. Some nice people would let them in, but the guy in front of us was a redneck jerk and wouldn’t let anyone in. He and another guy had words, but he still wouldn’t let him in. Mom did let him in and he kept thanking us and waving. We finally got to the window to pay for our food. The lady asked, did we get such and such and we said yes. She handed mom the receipt and said, “The guy ahead of you paid for your food.” We were blown away. Mom leaned out the window and thanked him and he was still waving when he left. I was like, there are still some nice people in this world.
We played the board game aggravation every night by lantern light. It was cold, but we slept well. Friday was more of the same. We went to try to find food and found some pretty quickly that day. Saturday we went back to my grandparents’ for baths and such. Saturday evening we went back to the chicken joint and this time they had chicken, but no side items. We went everywhere looking for a hot meal. We finally found something at a fish place. I don’t eat fish, but they did have chicken strips. Saturday night we went to bed for our fourth night with no electricity. At 6:30am or so Sunday morning dad cranked the generator as he had been every morning. Around 7:30am, my electric heater in my room came on. I jumped up yelling woohoo! We have electricity! Our wonderful neighbor had pulled strings and personally escorted the power trucks to our road to fix the problem. Thank you Lucy and thank you MEPA! MEPA pitched in to help our power company, SWMEPA.
Then the part began wondering if the well would work or if it was frozen. My dad checked it and found some busted pipes. He was able to get what he needed to fix it and by 1:00pm or so we had water! We survived with minor problems!
That small generator was a life saver. I named it Bessie. She could run for three hours on a tank of gas. Then she would sputter and die. I would say, Bessie needs a refill. Bessie is around thirty years old. She brought three households through hurricane Catrina and saved our freezers. Now she brought us through four days of no electricity. We would have been mighty cold without Bessie. Hats off to her!
Needless to say, it was quite a week. Now it is beautiful Spring weather and only a patch of ice or two leaves any trace of what we have come through. We learned some lessons. We will prepare regardless of the possibility of the forecast changing. We will purchase a large and powerful generator that can run the well. We will have more wood cut. And on and on I could go. So that’s our ice storm story.
Until next time, have a blessed and healthy week!