Snowbound!

by John Briggs on February 24, 2009

in Blog, Site News

2-23-09  Digging out a must! | Click for a larger view

2-23-09 Digging out a must! | Click for a larger view

Unbelievable! Those were my very first words when my wife and I awoke to explosions at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night. Five transformers blew, starting just to our south and finishing with the one across the road from us. The flashes from these explosions lit our room like it was daylight, even though all the blinds and curtains were pulled shut.

A major snowstorm struck Maine Sunday night into early Monday. The storm started as rain Sunday evening, but soon changed to a heavy wet snow. By the time the storm ended at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning, 13″ of very heavy and wet snow had accumulated here at home. Towards the end of the storm, the temps dropped sharply, crusting the snow and making it the consistency of wall plaster. Further inland where the temperatures were much colder than here on the coast, snow totals were upwards of 24″.

I have dealt with more than three times the thirteen inches of snow we received, but this storm had a devastating impact. The snow clung to everything… trees, power lines, signs and homes, even the trunks of trees were plastered with snow due to the high winds driving it sideways. We lost power when the transformers blew, and got power restored late this afternoon. A total of 40 hours without the conveniences that we all take for granted. 140,000 Mainers were without power during and after the storm.

2-23-09 View - West (on the ridge across the road from where we live) Bath, Maine | Click for larger view

2-23-09 View - West (on the ridge across the road from where we live) Bath, Maine | Click for larger view

Immediately after the power went out, Sharon and I got up and began preparing. I lit the fireplace, she gathered the flashlights and candles. For those of you who have a fireplace, you know how inefficient they are. Suffice to say, I slept very little the last two days, having to feed the fireplace wood every hour and a half to keep us warm and to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Once daylight arrived, I surveyed the damage. Every tree had limbs drooping to the ground and most had broken limbs. The spruces looked beautiful, but damage was widespread. The losers of this event were the birch trees. Most were bent in half with their tops touching the ground.

Birds began showing up at our feeders, but had trouble accessing them. The snow had caked on every feeder, and removing the snow from them was a chore. I had to chip at them with a screw driver to remove enough of the snow to make them usable. Shortly after returning inside, 51 American Goldfinches and 39 Pine Siskins descended on the feeders and had a feast. I am sure they appreciated my efforts.

The sounds of chainsaws and generators filled the air. Navagating on area streets and roads was difficult and dangerous. Schools and businesses were closed. Normally, 13″ of snow does not cause much of a a problem. But with this mess it was like getting a severe ice storm. Rain, then heavy wet snow which froze nearly solid as the colder air worked in. As I write this, 48 hours after the storm began, snow still clings to the trees and power lines and 39,000 Mainers are still without power.

I need some sleep as I am exhausted. I leave with you some photos of the beautiful but devastating storm.

2-23-09 Limbs sagging under the weight of heavy snow | Click for larger view

2-23-09 Limbs sagging under the weight of heavy snow | Click for larger view

2-23-09 Backyard view | Click for larger view

2-23-09 Backyard view | Click for larger view

2-23-09 View - north from the backyard | Click for larger view

2-23-09 View - north from the backyard | Click for larger view

2-23-09 Snow laden branches | Click for larger view

2-23-09 Snow laden branches | Click for larger view

2-24-09 Finally blue skies! | Click for larger view

2-24-09 Finally blue skies! | Click for larger view

2-24-09 View from Ft. Popham looking toward Cox Head | Click for larger view

2-24-09 View from Ft. Popham looking toward Cox Head | Click for larger view

 

Happy birding!

 

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