Great Ice Storm of Aught-Two

Today is the beginning of what looks to be a pretty nasty storm.  We’re starting with some freezing rain, adding in a little sleet, a “mixed bag” if you will, followed by a foot or so of snow. 

The impending ice storm reminds me of the Great Ice Storm of 2002, which took place when I lived in Charlotte, NC.  I lost power for five days and had to sleep on a variety of friend’s couches.  Of course, I was grateful to have friends to stay with—other (I presume less friendly and less polite?) people were not as lucky as I was.   Trees covered in ice, power lines downed (do you drive over them or not?  I stupidly chose YES a few times…how is it I am still alive?), branches littering and blocking the streets…it was pretty awesome!

I can’t find my own pictures from the storm (this was before digital cameras and I didn’t even own my own computer yet) so I will instead share some I found online:


(note to reader:  most of those photos are not of Charlotte…and I’m pretty sure that cow one is shopped)

The night of the ice storm I went over to a friend’s house for an “ice storm” party like you would expect from a group of 20-somethings.  We had beer and snacks, crashed on the couches at some point, and during the night kept being awakened by snaps, crackles, and ultimately a BOOM that was likely a nearby breaker blowing.  When we awoke there was no electricity, in fact…1.3 million people were without power. Luckily it wasn’t that cold outside—I was able to leave my cats in my apartment, and the place never got below 50 degrees.  I stayed with a few different people (I kept moving around as new friends regained power as to not inconvenience too many people), and finally my power came back on. I remember that was a great day…

from (perhaps the best part is that this website references wikipedia!)

In December 2002, Charlotte (and much of central North Carolina) was hit by a massive ice storm (which some dubbed, "Hugo on Ice") that knocked out power to over 1.3 million Duke Energy customers. According to a Duke Energy representative: "This ice storm surpasses the damage from Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which had 696,000 outages." During an abnormally cold December, many were without power for more than two weeks. Much of the damage was caused by Bradford pear trees which, still having leaves on December 4, split apart under the weight of the ice.

Suffice it to say that I most certainly hope we don’t lose power (they are certainly threatening it) and if we do, I hope not for long.  People here in St. Louis keep referencing the Ice Storm of 2006 (I refuse to use the word Great in front of it as I did not personally experience this).  I believe Chris lived downtown at the time and I recall he mentioned this, but he didn’t lose power, unlike 500,000 customers.  Living downtown certainly has its advantages!

(I do not live downtown now.)