The week of January 26, 2009, Northwest Arkansas (and a lot of the rest of the upper South) was hit with a massive ice storm. People called it a “category 5” or “generational” storm. It did millions of dollars in damage to the area, which has been declared a state and federal disaster area.
Personally, it was a VERY disturbing and motivating experience. We were out of power for 6.5 days (early Tuesday through the next Monday afternoon). We lost a number of large limbs from our lovely trees (we live in an old neighborhood with large mature trees), our electrical service was ripped off the house by a fallen limb, and our back porch cover was partially smashed. We’re still cleaning up the yard (and waiting for the crew our insurance company hired to remove the porch cover).
Not only were we out of power, our sewer connection was backed up the entire time, too, so we didn’t have running water, either. This happens a couple of times a year at our house due to tree roots getting into our old pipes, but it couldn’t have happened at a worse time this year.
Maybe it’s having a child, but this was much worse than the ice storm of 1994 we lived through in Oxford, Mississippi, when we were without power (and water, as the town water plant lost power) for about four days. It was MUCH worse than the ice storm we weathered here in Fayetteville in December 2000, when we lost power for about three days. We had almost no damage then, either.
I was pretty freaked out for the first couple of weeks. I really felt like I got caught unawares. If this had been a Katrina-level disaster, we would have really been screwed. I’ve started researching survival and preparedness resources (blogs, books, etc.), and I plan to be better prepared for the next natural — or unnatural) disaster — that hits Fayetteville. Several friends who are also getting better prepared and I are hoping to blog our research and preparations, and I’ll have more about that in a week or so.
Though the news outlets (especially 40/29 News) covered the storm (and closings, etc.) well, I got most of my information via Twitter where people were using the nwaicestorm09 hash tag. I got updates on friends via Facebook, too.