Monday, February 15, 2021

Temperate Rain Forest Ice Storm - The Destruction and our Survival Gear

Some people imagine an “ice storm” as hail, sleet, or even snow that melts during the  day and then freezes again at night. It is actually what its names says: a storm of ice.

In the temperate rain forest ice storms cause major damage! The people living in this climate are also not used to such low temperatures or hazardous driving conditions.

When I went to get my mail I had to work for it since the mailbox was covered in a layer of ice.

The Destruction

On Friday night things got bad.

I heard a large exposition at about 3 in the morning. I hit the ground  thinking that the pine tree next to the house was coming down. It was actually the power poles.

Down train safety barrier.

Powerlines on the ground.

Frozen door.

Down powerlines threaten bridge. 

The back window of our car froze and shattered. 

Leif's truck.

The ice sculpture from the headlight of Leif's truck.

No power, no heat!

Our Survival Plan

Day #1 

Immediate Dangers:
The first thing Leif and I did was assess our situation for immediate dangers. We checked for possible electric danger from the downed powerlines, "widow-maker" branches over our house, property damage, etc.

Set up Safe Place for Kids and Keep Them Busy:
We designated the warmest room in the house for the children. We made sure they were away from windows that were freezing or could break by being hit with ice or branches. We put them in charge of making an epic blanket fort.

Assess Supplies:
We assessed our supplies and gathered them from around our house. We always keep flashlights handy so we were not looking in the dark. 

Plan of Action:
After looking at our situation and our supplies we came up with a plan of action which addressed immediate and long-term concerns.

Today our priority was:
Fill up water jugs in case we lose water.
Find a way to keep everyone warm at night.
Check on neighbors.
Try to catch feral cats to give them shelter.

Today our obstacles were:
No power
No heat
Teaching the kids new rules and habits (don't open the doors, don't blow out the candles - its not your birthday. Flashlights are not for disco parties during the day, don't play with the wax, don't dump water on the candles, only use paper plates, don't bring the ice in the house, wear socks and a hat).

For dinner we boiled water and had cup of noodles, oatmeal, hot chocolate, and fettuccine alfredo from Backpacker's Pantry. This was delicious and a pack can fill up two adults.

Day #2

It was so cold it was hard getting out of bed in the morning. Thankfully, I had slept with my clothes for the day so they were warm when I put them on.

We repeated everything again from day one, starting with assessing immediate dangers and changes that had happened in the night. 

We let the kids play active games in the warmest room and made sure everyone was bundled with hats and scarfs. 
The power company had cleaned up enough that we could leave our property if we wanted to. However, hotels were filling up and we would have to travel a long and dangerous road to get to any place with heat. Also, since the window was busted in the family car this meant we would have to take several trips in Leif's truck. We decided the best option was to stay home unless someone got sick. 

We started charging cell phones and kids electronics with a solar charger my dad got us. The kids were only allowed to play with the electronics after it got dark. We had to get all we needed done during daylight hours when we could have the most light. 

Today our priority was:
Leif made a trek out to the store. It was nuts, but he got a few useful things. They only allowed him to shop for 8 minutes.
We succeeded in catching the feral cats and made sure they were warm.
Cleanliness and personal hygiene.
We fed the kids and pets as much from the fridge as possible. We could only put so much outside in sealed containers since we were worried about attracting wildlife with food sitting outside our house in the ice.
We packed our frozen food close together in our standing freezer. 
We found a place to stash dirty laundry.
We sanitized bathrooms and set up safety lights in bathroom.
I did the girls' hair in a way that would help it stay cleaner, out of their way, and hold for a long time.

Today our obstacles were:
Staying clean and cleaning the house. 
With no use of the washer and dryer our socks (doubled up) and gloves (working) got dirty fast.
Cleanliness and personal hygiene (with no hot water, no dishwasher, no way to do laundry).
Having to clean my house with 40 pounds of winter gear on.

Our Survival Supplies  

(with Amazon affiliate links)

I LOVED this little Magic Heat stove. This was the only reason why we had warm food! It can be used indoor or outdoor.

The Chicken and Rice from Mountain House was AMAZING! Yes, I was cold, hungry, and had just worked hard, but Leif and I shared one of these and we both thought it tasted like eating at a restaurant. One of these filled both of us up.

My sister got me this purse light as part of a birthday gift. This was FANTASIC for the kids to use when they needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

We also used paper towels to clean everything. They could be burned if needed.
We used paper plates, bowls, and cups since we did not want to do dishes in cold water. These could also be burned if needed.

What we wished we had:

The Miracle

I woke up the second morning and started my period. * big frowny face*
Its horrible to survive and be cold -- and worse to do it while on a period.

I went to the bathroom and I prayed next to the tub for hot water. There was no hot water the day before or any other time we were without power and heat. Somehow, after the prayer I had THREE INCHES of hot water in the tub! Steam was coming off the surface!

I told my husband about this amazing tender mercy and we could find no logical explanation. It was a miracle! 

The Beautiful Ice!

Even with trying to survive we found times to enjoy the beauty of the world around us. 

What are your thoughts and survival tips? What could we have done better?


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