Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ice Storm 2013

The evening of the winter solstice, already the longest night of the year, the Ice Storm hit Toronto.

The sound of tree branches cracking and falling in the ravine woke us, and through the skylights we could see unnatural flashes of light - transformers blowing up.

No power.

Checking the damage in the morning there was only one large limb down, over the chairs in the corner. But by the time we got home from work at the end of the day, the big maple in the back had lost a major branch that had fallen on the roof (no apparent damage to the house, thankfully). A few days later and it looks like the Beauty Bush may only survive with some serious pruning. Trees in the city have been devastated by the storm.

300,000 without power, and we three a small number. I was happy to be with my family. Safe and together, keeping warm. Evenings we hung out in the living room and lit candles. The gas stove was working so we could get our meals ready and boil the kettle for tea.

Two nights and three days passed without electricity or working communications. The things I missed most were hot, running water. And real coffee from our espresso machine. And the Internet. And traffic lights.

Driving was nuts. What were supposed to be treated as 4-way stops met sporadic compliance. The busiest intersections seemed especially prone to certain people who felt waiting their turn applied to everyone else. Scenes like this made me realize how quickly things can fall apart, given the right (or wrong) people at a certain time and place.

Thankfully this emergency seems to have passed, but it is a good reminder to take precautions and have some essentials on hand.

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