Getting Through a Weather Catastrophe
With all the leaves on the ground, it reminds me that winter is fast approaching. When I think of winter, the Ice storm of January 13, 2007, always comes to mind. I live in south west Missouri and most of our state was affected by the storm. An estimated 70 people died in what was my first “Natural disaster”.
The warnings for the ice storm started coming on early that morning. I was not a bit concerned about it. But I do live in a rural area and we have power outages all the time.
I Went to the store bought a few items like sodas, and sandwiches and headed back to the house. That evening was pretty uneventful, although we did lose power during the night.
The next day the reality set in. It was raining pretty heavily and ice had coated most of the trees and fences. The tree branches were hanging close to the ground and it was apparent they were about to all snap off.
The next two days were terrifying. Every literal minute, branches were snapping off and falling everywhere. A huge tree uprooted, and missed my husband’s truck by mere inches.
I remember sitting there in the dark praying as I went to sleep, that a tree would not fall on the house. I will also never forget the horrible sound of a tree branch snapping off, because I never did know exactly where it was going to land.
The roads were virtually unpassable. If we did go anywhere, we had to take chainsaw to remove branches and trees from the path of the road. It was shocking to me that when we returned we had new trees and branches to contend with.
We had our food items in coolers on the porch. We stayed warm by using our gas stove, making sure to keep the house ventilated. This was working until the next phase of the storm.
For three days our temperature went down to below zero. This had to be the scariest time of all. Even with the gas stove going full blast, I could still see my breathe clearly. I had a pile of blankets on and was still cold. I remember be concerned that I would actually freeze to death while sleeping.
We quickly decided to purchase a generator. We could afford one. Many others could not. Some of the people who could afford them could not find any available.
We share a well with our family members who also live on our property and they had a generator on the pump. So we had water also. It was not so bad after that, but I couldn’t help but worry about my friends, neighbors and family members.
The whole ordeal lasted eight days
All along my phone worked and I kept in contact with my family. They were very concerned and puzzled as to why our plight was not on the news?. I was concerned about my elderly neighbors. Around the fifth day of my ordeal I decide to make some phone calls.
I called our Governor. I wanted to ask him why our state was not declared a disaster, and why we had no help coming?. As much as I wanted to ask him all these things, I couldn’t. He had a voice message stating that his mail box was full and could not receive any more calls.
Next I decided to go directly to the top. So I called the White house. I explained my situation and was treated rudely to say the least. The woman I talked to told me to continue to try to call my Governor, and that she was unable to do anything. After scolding and yelling at me, she hung up on me.
The next place I called was FEMA. Although they could not help me in anyway, the woman I spoke with, had some interesting things to tell me. She was going to quit her job because she could not handle not being able to help people.
She assured me the ever since the Katrina tragedy she had seen a rise In weather catastrophes around the world. The weather was becoming more severe and disasters were becoming more consistent.
She told me my best bet would be to be prepared in case of another weather emergency. She was right. Since then we have had many other close calls in my area alone. Including one day last spring, when 71 tornados came through in the span of a day.
I do not claim to know why our weather is changing for the worst. Maybe it is global warming. But for whatever reason, it is happening. The only thing we can do is to prepare ourselves.
I suggest that everyone has plenty of water stored up in case of emergencies, as well as an alternative heat source. Candles, flashlights and a portable radio are also must have items.
I would have never guessed that I would be in that situation. More over, I would have never guessed that it would be entirely up to me, to insure my own survival.
The current Bush administration has proved to me that they have no concern over people dying in natural disasters. Maybe that will change and maybe it will not. However the fact remains that everyone should be fully prepared in case of a weather emergency.