Would You Like Ice with That?

Ice – Kingsway Dr 02-25-2022

Weather forecasts for SE Missouri had something for everyone in a week’s time. We had warm temps, single-digit temps, 4 inches of rain, thundersleet, freezing rain and snow.

There were reports of trees down and power outages scattered all around, but 1618 Kingsway dodged a big bullet (so far). Trees and bushes got a beautiful decoration of ice, but wind that could have caused serious problems didn’t materialize.

Frozen flag

Ice – Kingsway Dr 02-25-2022

When I looked out the front window the night the rain was freezing, I was surprised to see my American flag looking like it had been starched, then ironed flat. It was frozen into a solid sheet.

By the next morning, it was still mostly frozen, but there had been enough wind to create cracks in the coating.

The only casualty (so far)

Ice – Kingsway Dr 02-25-2022

I did a quick walkaround and saw a few small branches down, but this bent-over bush with the split trunk may have been the only fatality.

Still, though, the temps will be below freezing for another day, so there may be other trees and bushes that’ll crack under the continued strain.

Green covered with ice

Ice – Kingsway Dr 02-25-2022

Some grass and mosses were turning green under the warmer than usual winter, but they got a serious shock when they were covered with sleet, snow and ice.

I was surprised to see half a dozen robins wading in my front yard the day when the rain was coming down the hardest.

I ordered a generator

I bought a 3000-watt generator after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. It sat in my backyard shed unused except for annual test firings until the 2004 hurricane season when three storms passed over us, leaving us without power for multiple days.

After the first storm of the series, I ordered a 7,500-watt generator and added a kit that would allow it to run on gasoline, propane or natural gas. I also put a tap on our electrical service panel that would let me power most of the house.

Florida hurricane supplies

We keep all our hurricane supplies in a shed in the back yard. They include aluminum panels to go over the doors and windows, the generator, spare oil and filters, mounting hardware, and tarps (up to and including 30-footers). 

Here’s a link to more detailed disaster planning that might be helpful even if you aren’t in the tropics.

We’ve been through the drill enough times that we can have the house battened down in an afternoon, with the help of Matt and Grandson Malcolm.

The smaller Hugo generator went to Son Matt, who used it at his house.

He rewired his house and bought a bigger generator, which made the old one surplus again. I reclaimed it and have it parked under my basement stairs in Cape “just in case.”

I had the electrical panel in Cape house upgraded from a four-fuse 60-amp box to a modern service panel. That started me thinking about a generator big enough to feed the whole house, if I was careful to balance my load.

Tri-fuel generators are hard to find

I dithered for months, but the ice storm caused me to pull the trigger. Once capable of running on gas, propane and natural gas are hard to find. I’m going to have to drive to Marion to pick one up the first week of March.

Even if it sits silent for as long as the Hugo generator did, it’s worth the comfort of knowing its there. (I think I paid $300 for the 3,000-watt unit. Three hundred bucks spread out over about 10 years was painless.)

Pretty ice photos

You can take a tour of my yard by clicking on any image to make it larger, then use the arrow keys to move through the gallery.

My old high school teacher and pilot used to repeat the old adage, “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots; there aren’t any old, bold pilots.”

I spent a lot of time in the ink-slinging business being a bold photographer, but now that I have achieved the status of an old photographer, I’m not quite as bold. Not too many years ago, I roamed Cape shooting weather photos. This gallery was all taken without backing the van out of the driveway.

Here are some links to weather pictures and stories when I was younger and bolder.





Hurricane Erika – Stay or Go?

Huricane Erika 20-08-26 AdvistoryI wasn’t much concerned about Hurricane Danny. Every model predicted unfavorable conditions that would inhibit development. Hurricane Erika had a bad feel about it, though. She was following Danny like a girl hoping be noticed at prom time.

I particularly didn’t like Wednesday’s 11 A.M. track that showed the center of the cone knocking on our back door. The only problem was that different models said it would dissipate before it got to us, would swerve north to spin fish in the middle of the Atlantic or would come out of the Bahamas as a piddling Cat 1 storm, with the potential of cranking up to a Cat 2.

Before you dismiss my “piddling” Cat 1 hurricane, imagine yourself in the back of a pickup truck going 75 miles per hour. Now imagine yourself trying to hold up a 4×8 sheet of plywood while being blasted by a firehose.

Wife Lila and Kid Matt have been trying to talk me out of coming home. They both subscribed to the No Big Deal models, and Matt said he’d put up the storm panels if I wasn’t there.

This looks a little better

plot20150826-2255The model spaghetti is beginning to favor a northward turn before it gets to the coast of Florida. The state will probably get some much-needed rain, but be spared high winds. If the 11 A.M. Thursday advisory keeps the turn, looks like Cape is going to have to put up with me a little longer.

I’ve seen a few storms

We had four hurricanes pass over us in the 2004-2005 season. Here’s an account of Frances.

Here are some good disaster preparedness tips that are useful even if you aren’t in a hurricane area. I chased 13 hurricanes and had more than half that many chase me. Experience is a good teacher.