Ice encrusted fence
We awoke yesterday morning to a sea of snow, slush, ice, and freezing rain. It was also pretty chilly because we’d turned off the heat the night before so we wouldn’t have to worry about the heat pump seizing with ice. I’d already rescheduled my service calls for the day, which were way up near the NC/Virginia state line, and planned to work from home, but at 7:00 AM the power went off so I ended up having to call in and take a vacation day. At least we’d been able to heat the house back up and make coffee before we lost power.
Ever wonder what it would be like to be inside the Slurpee machine at a 7-11?
The shelter was closed due to the bad weather but Joy and I went in for a few hours and helped clean and feed. Afterwards, since downtown still had power, we went out for lunch and picked up a few things from Ingles, and this proved to be a great day to go to the DMV to renew the Jeep’s registration – no lines!
By the time we were home for the day the power had come back on. We were really lucky – as of today there are still over 15,000 people in Henderson County without power. We did have some problems with our heat; I knew I was going to have to keep an eye on the heat pump icing up and even bought a heat gun to be prepared for this, but besides having to de-ice it ever few hours we also had an issue where the furnace would not shut off. We ran the heat pretty much full out for most of the day, in case we lost power again, and when we did finally cut it back the motor just kept running. I went up in the attic and there wasn’t any obvious switch or cutoff, so I finally flip the switch on the circuit breaker panel. This morning when I turned it back on it seemed to be working normally, maybe we had tripped some sort of relay or something?
Icy power lines. That green blur, I think, is some effect of water pouring down, the edge of a Tibetan prayer flag, and the camera flash. Or ectoplasm.
All in all, the storm wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and for us, impacted life pretty minimally. The gas logs kept the living room nice and warm while the power was out (we shut them off while we were at the shelter, of course) and we didn’t have any big downed limbs or anything like that. We hope those without power have it restored soon. I suppose we do need to figure out a better long term solution for the heat pump icing issue – maybe build the roof overhang out a bit? Spending the evening babysitting it, running out with the heat gun every couple of hours, was a bit nervewracking. But then again, this has been a really unusual run of weather, not typical at all, hopefully next winter the El Nino will have passed.
Here we are battening down for more bad weather, not even a week after the last stuff hit. This time it’s worse, Henderson County is supposedly ‘ground zero‘ for some serious ice accumulation, and with the ground already saturated and the trees getting pre-coated with wet heavy snow right now, there will probably be a lot of trees coming down.
We’ve got fresh batteries in the flashlight, lots of candles, and have the thermostat set higher than usual to get the house good and warm because we’re going to have to turn off the heat pump overnight due to the risk of it freezing and seizing up. There’s a really good chance we are going to lose power, so if the blog goes silent for a few days, that’s what happened. If the blog goes silent permanently, then it means we lost power for several days and Joy is in jail for murdering me; I don’t tend to cope real well with long term cold and darkness, and she can only be expected to take the whining for so long.
Last night it was snowing pretty good:
This is what it looks like this morning:
I don’t think it is as much snow as the last storm, but we’re still under the storm warning until six tonight so there may be more coming.
Right now we’re getting some sort of weird rain/freezing rain/ice pellet mix.
We didn’t mind so much being snowed in this weekend; we had heat, plenty of food, and a cheery fireplace. One of Joy’s coworkers, who was working the weekend, got stranded Friday night and stayed over with us — having company for an evening was a fun change of pace for us. The next day the three of us all headed over to the shelter, which was closed due to the weather, in the Jeep and took care of the animals there. He was able to dig his vehicle out with a snow shovel and get home. Joy worked the Sunday shift as well, since the roads were still not great and no sense of him risking getting his truck (not four wheel drive) re-stuck, or hitting black ice coming up from Tryon. I went with her and walked dogs and helped out a bit, then we headed back home and Joy made some warming curry squash soup. We spent the rest of Sunday staying inside and watching DVDs from Netflix.
Since it has been in the low twenties at night and barely out of the thirties during the day, the snow, which has compressed down into mostly ice, is still with us.
Joy is still driving the Jeep, which has four wheel drive, and I managed to get the platapus out yesterday morning, but got stuck on the ice coming back in. I did manage to rock it past and park, but am a bit leery of hitting that spot again today. I’ve actually been out chopping at it with an axe, which is only slightly more useful than getting down on my hands and knees and trying to melt the ice by breathing on it.
Yesterday I had to go to Morganton, NC, which wasn’t too bad because the site was right off the main highway, and York, SC — which had no snow at all. I was supposed to drive up to the Tennessee/Kentucky border today, and that got rescheduled. Tomorrow I am supposed to drive to Highlands, NC, which is smack in the middle of the Nantahala National Forest and accessed by a twisty two lane highway bordered by a cliff face on one side and a drop off to a river on the other. I foresee that getting rescheduled as well. What does melt during the day just refreezes into black ice by the next morning, making driving really dicy until after noon or so.
Cricket is hating this weather and I have to carry her around the side of the house to pee behind the row of azalea bushes where the snow couldn’t reach. Lindsy used to love snow when she was younger, but at less than two months shy of age 15 now, she is so frail and rickety she can’t walk in it. The first day the snow hit she floundered out to the middle of the yard and collapsed, and we had to rescue her, poor thing. The cats think it’s some sort of trick we are playing on them, they keep wanting to go out and then they give us dirty looks and run back inside.
Christmas eve is supposed to bring freezing rain and I just hope this stuff has mostly melted by then.