Tuesday December the 9th the storm rolled into Vermont and started out as rain and wind. As the day progressed the above freezing temperatures dropped, turning rain to ice. The ice built and built before the air cooled enough for snow to form. Overall the air never got cold enough to change the heavy wet snow into light fluffy powder and so the snow stuck to everything like ice glue.
The sun set and darkness cloaked the area as the storm raged outside. Now with a tenth to a quarter and even a half inch of ice on everything, the heavy wet snow building quickly deposited incredible amounts of weight on trees, bushes, roofs and wires. Looking out at the trees we could see them bending further and further under the excessive weight of the frozen water falling at blizzard rates.
There were times when the snow was falling hard enough you could not see more than a few feet in front of you. Around 9pm the electricity went out; no surprise there. Along with the loss of electricity goes the well pump and therefore running water. The wood stove cranked for heat and many oil lamps and candles for light we gathered snow in pots to melt over the fire. More buckets filled with snow surrounded the hot wood stove to melt into water.
Morning came with the light of the sun, hidden behind thick clouds and the storm continued to dump snow on everything. Many trees were bent to the ground and others simply broke and came crashing down all through the hills.
For the next three days the storm continued and the electricity remained out. Many roads were impassable from the amount of downed trees. VTrans were doing their best to open up over 6,000 miles of roads from the storm. You could not stand outside and not hear trees breaking and plummeting to the ground with massive thuds all throughout the land.
Vermont only has about 650,000 people and here in the Addison County region there were around 70,000 homes without electricity and many without water or heat with over 1,000 electrical issues identified. Just in this one small section of Vermont over 10% of the population was without electricity from the storm. The mail has not run up our roads in five days. Electricity companies have been working 24 hours a day and New Hampshire sent electrical workers over to assist in the massive outages.
Though most of the main roads are clear, many of the side roads and mountain roads are still quite messed up and a great many people are still without electricity. Ours came back on late last night after having been out for almost exactly 96 hours. During that time we were also without phone for a while since the phone line was ripped off the pole from the amount of ice piled on it.
The yard and woods are littered with downed trees and limbs. We have a large maple laying across the top of our barn roof, part of a butternut crushing some of our apple trees and looming over the studio porch roof, birch, cherry and ash trees bent to the ground blocking direct access to the woodshed and well, aspen, beech and red maple tops snapped off and laying on top of crushed flowering bushes and piles of heavy wet snow still coating everything. I have a LOT of chain saw work to do.
Though the storm finally ceased the sky remains a thick gray and the temps remain below freezing which obviously prevents the snow from melting off the suffering trees. Electricity trucks and workers can be seen everywhere working on lines when driving about. We are to receive another potential ice/snow storm this coming Tuesday through Wednesday night which could bring further complications to a not even close to fully recovered area from the last storm.
Winter set in quick and heavy this December and shows no signs of easing for the many long months to come. Luckily here at Element Mountain we are well fortified with supplies and able to manage without electricity for long durations. Of course our office closes down when electricity goes out so if you email ad do not receive an answer, be patient because we may just be out of electricity again… 🙂