Thursday, December 18, 2008

Have You Seen This Man?

Hello faithful readers, I have returned. I was not gone by choice, but forced into exile by that cruel mistress, Mother Nature. As you may or may not have heard, the northeast United States was hit by an "Ice Storm" on December 11th. Electricity went down at 11:05 that night, and just returned yesterday, December 17th, at 7:30 PM.

Scott Bulger Photography

What we had wasn't actually an "Ice Storm", but freezing rain. "Ice Storm" is so much more dramatic though, don't you think? For those of you not fortunate enough to know this information first hand, let me explain. An "Ice Storm" is when little pellets of ice (also known as sleet) rain down on us from above. It stings the skin and slickens the road, but it doesn't really stick to anything, bouncing off like very cold grains of sand. "Freezing Rain" on the other hand, is a whole different ball of wax. When the temperature in the upper atmosphere is warm enough for the precipitation to fall as rain (say 34 degrees), and the temperature at the ground is cold enough to freeze this precipitation (say 30 degrees), you get a recipe for trouble. Not just regular old trouble, but trouble of epic proportions. You've all been caught in a rainstorm before, right? Well imagine if the rain was pouring down, but freezing into ice the moment it hit your skin. Fairly quickly, you would be encased in a cocoon of frozen glaze. Cold, immobilizing, and most importantly, very heavy.

Scott Bulger Photography
This isn't upside down. It's a 50' birch tree that is literally bent over 180 degrees.

Trees don't have the sense to come inside out of the rain to warm up and dry off. They just stand out there, rooted to their spots, getting thicker and heavier by the minute. Depending on the type of tree, it either bends (birch), or breaks (every other). When the trees bend or break, they inevitably land on power lines and roads, hence the major power outages. At the height of the aftermath the following morning, there were 415,000 electrical customers in New Hampshire with no power. To put this in perspective, in 2000, New Hampshire had 474,606 households. Maybe now, that is up to 500,000. That would make over 80% of the state was without electricity on the morning following the storm. I don't impress easily, but heck, that is an impressive number.

Scott Bulger Photography
This is what a tree looks like after siting in the freezing rain for about 6 hours.

We were fortunate. We have a wood stove and were able to heat the house, cook food, and boil water. It was very peaceful, out here in the woods, full moon glistening off of the ice all around us like a crystal castle. I just went down to the pond in the back yard with my ax, chopped a hole in the ice, and brought back buckets of water so that we could flush the toilets. It was very Charles Ingalls of me.

Scott Bulger Photography
Blades of Grass

I'm glad to have the power back. I have much work to do, and am now a week further behind than I already was. The last of my Christmas orders will be going out on Saturday, and I personally guarantee that you will have them for the big day. Unfortunately, unless you live within driving distance, I will not be taking any more orders for Christmas delivery. Don't blame me, blame Mother Nature.


Isla Deb said...

Absolutely great photos, Scott. Since I don't get to see wintery shots down here in south Texas, I'm enjoying yours.

Robin said...

We have family in NH and they said the conditions were pretty bad. Love the photos, they are beautiful!

Alison Du Bois said...

Glad you and your family are safe, Scott, and I hope you didn't lose too many trees. Gorgeous photos! I'm reminded of my childhood when I lived on a farm near Sacramento, California ~ when it was cold enough we would turn on the sprinklers to make icicles on the barbed wire. It created a magical world.

S-V-H said...

Mother nature is a real artist, she does magics to the trees and limbs. I could not look enough to your fabulous ice photos, beautiful!

Stay warm, Scott!

Sue's Daily Photography

Anonymous said...

Aha, I've been waiting on this blog. I was very curious to see how you and your fam made it during the storm. Great write BTW!! I love the Charles Ingalls reference. Anyway, love the photos. I love the fallen tree shot. I knew you would be documenting the ice!!! You go Master Po!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm in Barrington as you know. We have like One tree left in our back yard. We went 6 days with no power or anything! But we didn't leave our home and survived. Just praying that will be the last time this year for blackouts.

Meg said...

I love the photogenic aftermath of these storms. My parents (in Pennsylvania) have a white birch in their yard. Last winter it ended up like the one in your photo - it's top branches bent all the way to the ground. It survived the ordeal, but it's still bent!

Kelly Anne Dalton said...

It's too bad that freezing rain is so dangerous, because it's soooo beautiful!

High Desert Diva said...

I was raised in the greater Portland, Oregon area. Freezing rain is Portland's version of winter. I cannot count the times we were without power. I do not miss it at all. The dry, powdery snow of the high desert suits me just fine.

Your photos, as usual, are gorgeous.

But you know the Charles Ingalls reference opens you up to being called Pa, right?

Sarah McBride said...

ice storms are beautiful(as evidenced by your photos) but so incredibly destructive. Glad to see you back. Have fun cleaning out your fridge...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you have power and are safe. I love the photos of the frozen trees. Haunting and beautiful.

Anonymous said...

i have a friend in windam who was in the same boat. i am just south of boston and we got absolutely nothing from that storm. mother nature is a puzzling lady (although, to be honest most are)

Distressing Delilah a.k.a. jenn said...

Ewwww..looks like a tough time there! I am in upstate NY..we missed the ice, but got a few feet of snow!

Anonymous said...

Dear Scott,

Thank you for this post! I have experienced ice rain only once and that was at Xmas some years ago. My son fell over backwards and had concussion so we spent that Xmas in hospital. Outside was beautiful though and we were lucky enough not to have had bad devastation like you did. Glad you are alright and hopefully are having a wonderful Xmas right now.

One love

S-V-H said...


Sue's Daily Photography

Anonymous said...

I love these photos. And I was thinking that me shoveling the 22" inches of snow we've gotten here was heavy duty, but I don't think so anymore. :)

I wish you a very creative 2009! :)