I went to bed Thursday night expecting (as did pretty much everyone in the area) a minor winter event with a small amount of ice, one that might delay the opening of the university for an hour or so but would otherwise have a minimal impact. Twenty-four hours later, trees and power lines were down everywhere, hundreds of thousands of people were without power, and the Triad area was pretty much completely disabled. Needless to say, we were taken a little by surprise.
I was lucky. Unlike somewhere between seventy and ninety percent of the population of Guilford County, I never lost power for more than a split second. I did lose cable and internet connectivity (I still don’t have that back) and branches did come down in my yard. But there was no damage to my parents’ old house in Greensboro, where I’m currently living. I was terrified about my house in Winston-Salem, though, with all the tall trees that surround it on every side.
By late Friday afternoon, a good bit of the snow and ice had melted. The weather-related part of the event was over quickly; in fact, I went out for a drive on Friday evening and got dinner at my favorite shawarma joint. The outages were widespread but very sporadic. Three sides of an intersection might be dark while the convenience store on the fourth might have power…and a massive traffic jam in its parking lot. Traffic lights were out everywhere and the streets looked really eerie at twilight. As it got darker, I nearly ran into a downed tree on an off-ramp near my house. That was when I decided not to go out anymore on Friday night.
On Saturday morning, I received email from my neighbors in Winston-Salem letting me know that the power had been out on Friday but had been restored. They also mentioned that a pine in my backyard (one which was already quite dead) had come down and blocked the street. The city had apparently cut it up and placed the pieces on the edge of my yard. Other than that, though, there seemed to be no damage. I drove over to check it out later that morning and noticed that the magnolia Mark had planted seven years ago had lost about four years growth off the top. But everything else looked pretty good. I was very relieved.
Now it’s Sunday. I’ve come in to work to catch up on a few things since I can’t do this at home without internet access. It’s nice seeing things bigger than they look on my phone.
Like I said, the weather aspect of this event came and went pretty quickly. But I have to say it was most of the most damaging storms I’ve ever seen around here. And I feel like I dodged a bullet. Tens of thousands of people still don’t have power and their lives are pretty much sucking at this point. So I’ve decided not to whine about the cable and the internet for at least another day. Funny thing: I’ve read two entire books over the past two days. Imagine…