The Ice Storm of 2013

Almost three weeks ago, Toronto and the surrounding vicinity had its power cut from under its feet. Living an hour north from the greater metropolitan, we came out of the disaster unscathed. Other than a few felled trees, we had a virtual behemoth of ice blanketing the area. But we retained our power. That in itself is miraculous. And why wouldn’t Freedom Friday describe the event as anything but?

Our neighborhood one morning
Our neighborhood one morning

I awoke to the sound of silence. Unusual, I thought. The neighbor’s dog should have been out barking in the backyard. A car or two should have been traveling on our street to work. I wouldn’t have known what to make of it until I hopped from my bed and peeked through the blinds to discover everything coated in ice. I felt I was living a real-life scene from the movie The Day After Tomorrow where New York City fell under a sub-arctic weather mass.

My first instinct to call my parents proved unproductive. Their phone gave me a busy signal, which meant one of two things—they were talking with my sister about the storm or they’d lost power and weren’t home. Sure enough, my sister had called to let me know my folks were over at her place after having lost power. The region had shut down and no sign of any visible progress would be forthcoming for the next seventy-two hours.

Meanwhile, I had my own dilemma. Even though we hadn’t lost electricity, we had a driveway covered in a foot of ice. It looked like a literal skating rink out there. When I dared make the trek outside, the five steps from our home mocked me with the words, “treacherous”, “lethal”, and “deadly”. The steps were non-existent, replaced by a hill that wasn’t there the night before. I negotiated the anomaly without compromising my safety.

The first inkling of trouble.
The first inkling of trouble.
Deserted street
Deserted street
Our front lawn
Our front lawn

Once at the bottom, I slid to the edge of our driveway. Had I known then what I know now, I would have never slept. Instead, I would have chosen to stay up all night to ensure the bottom of the driveway remained clear. Well, that didn’t work as expected. I stared at the mound to the mouth of the driveway and measured it to be three feet, more or less. That’s three feet of solid ice. I knew I was in trouble.

Surely, I thought, my snow thrower would rescue me from days of attempting to find the bottom of my driveway. I didn’t know what I was doing. I revved the engine, aimed for the ice and—nothing happened. The machine threw its hands in the air not even recognizing the ice and laughed at me. Okay, so maybe my optimism got the best of me.

Plants  frozen solid
Plants frozen solid
More plants  frozen solid
More plants frozen solid

Next, I put away the snow thrower and went to Plan B: I lined my pockets with cash and waited at the foot of the driveway on the mound of ice that held my weight without a problem. As the cars passed by my street, I held my breath. I hoped upon hope for relief. I didn’t know if it would come, but I kept my wits about me and remained confident.

Half-an-hour later, reinforcements came in the form of a plow. With a pocket full of cash, I felt confident we’d win. And win we did. We managed to get the whole driveway plowed for a $20 bill. Imagine my relief.

A leaf frozen in place
A leaf frozen in place
Branch covered in ice
Branch covered in ice

Well, that was one problem out of the way. It didn’t help my stair problem. What to do with all the ice that had made my steps a ski slope? Unfortunately, folks, this I had to take care of myself utilizing a spade fork to break up the ice. Three hours later, I’d cleared the steps.

Now, this is all very well and fine, but it doesn’t compare to the satisfaction of digging out our neighbor across the street from this mess. But that’s another story.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Did you experience the ice storm of 2013? What did you have to do to dig yourself out of its clutches?

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24 thoughts on “The Ice Storm of 2013

  1. Ever since moving to GA, I sadly had to bid snow farewell but this year’s winter definitely hasn’t let anyone escape it’s clutches entirely. When we had a record low of 6 degrees Fahrenheit a week or so ago, I had to pour two huge Dickey’s BBQ cups worth of hot water over my car door just so I could get in it to drive to work. Sigh…how long before Spring time?

      • I saw clips on the news about the Frost Quakes but didn’t hear one. Until this year I’d never heard of frost quakes or the polar vortex. Oh, and the polar vortex is coming back this week but not as bad. Yay!

  2. I lost power at my apartment for about 30 hours and didn’t have time to publish a post. It was okay because I stayed at my parents’ place, and they had power. My uncle got the worst of it. He lost power for about a week. But we all got together and had a good Christmas Eve and day. Happy new year and congrats again on the book!

  3. You have some truly awesome photos in this post. Holy Moley! 3 foot thick ice. That is just mind boggling. It is good to learn your parents were safely ensconced at your sister’s home during this terrible storm. Hope you are all well and staying warm.
    Leslie

  4. Looks like we are in for an icy mess tomorrow Jack. I hope it isn’t as bad as that one. Just think at how much fun kids have . No worries! Just slide and skate all day!

  5. IT has been crazy, I’m so glad you kept your power. It’s good that you can pay to have your drive done. Sounds like you are a great neighbor!

  6. Looks like Jack Frost had a blast where you live. 😉 I’m glad you got your driveway and stairs cleared. After all, you need to park on the driveway, and drive on the parkway.

  7. Hi Jack! Glad you survived the storm! Great pictures! Down here in Olean, NY, it was bitterly cold. Overnight lows got to -21F. Even with our furnace on high and our heated blanket on high as well, it was still cold. Our kitchen sink pipes froze that night and it wasn’t until the following even that they finally thawed. School was cancelled that day here in town because it was too cold and a majority of the kids walked to school. Tuesday going-ons were getting cancelled Monday afternoon it was so bad. Buffalo got the brunt of it. There was even a driving ban in place. Yesterday, I had to go up there for another checkup with the neurosurgeon for my back and my Mom had me call Wednesday afternoon just to make sure they were going to be open the next. When we drove up Thursday, it really wasn’t that bad. The trees were covered in snow but the roads were clear. There was an accident near the exit where we were suppose to get off at so traffic was slowed but by the time we got up there, there was just two State Troopers there hanging around. We did see a car off the road on the other side of the expressway, but that is because people don’t know how to drive and slow down in snow and ice weather. I am sure you can agree with me that we cannot wait for Spring. Now we have to wait for that damn groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil to see his shadow(or not). I want to shoot him and stew him up personally…lol. Idk if I can take any more of winter. It has been a long, hard, and cold winter for sure. My fiancee and I saw an article on how Niagara Falls has partially frozen(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/01/09/no-niagara-falls-is-not-frozen-solid/) and how there use to be an ice bridge and back in the early 1900s they use to go down on it and set up concession stands and go sledding down there, etc until an incident in 1912(http://niagaracounty.wgrz.com/news/news/63025-tragedy-falls-ice-bridge-disaster-1912) put a ban on it. It was very interesting nevertheless. Glad you guys made it through. Hopefully the worst of the winter weather is over and we can enjoy a mild and safe transition into the Spring of 2014. Knock on wood for this is western NY….

    • Hopefully Punxsutawney Phil or Wiarton Willy will not see their shadows this year. Otherwise, six more weeks of winter! And I saw the Niagara Falls pic–there was no way it could have frozen solid. No way! Stay warm, Heather!

  8. Gorgeous pictures! And that was a lot of ice to deal with! Living in an area that is prone to some nasty winter weather, I always find myself filling with dread when the words “ice storm” are said.

  9. Oh. My.

    Great pictures, but what a mess for all y’all. I had to dig cars out in a wintry mess, but not from the degree of ice that you did.

    I applaud your facility with funding the driveway excavation project. 🙂

    • Thanks! If I didn’t get the driveway cleared our car would have never left the garage. And it was close to Christmas Eve when it all went down making my willingness to make an effort all the more desperate!

  10. Didn’t have an ice storm this year, but I remember one when I lived in upstate New York. It was like something flash froze the trees because things where simply coated in ice. Not sure if the hearing the storm from inside or being out in the aftermath was the scariest.

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