The Perfect Storm

Freezing rain began falling yesterday and has turned much of Oklahoma into a deep freeze. Broken limbs and fallen trees have blocked roads and snapped power lines. Most of Tulsa is without power– officially described as 200,000 households, which sounds pretty darn close to the whole city to me.

Our bad day started last night when the power blinked off about 10:00 pm. The mist turned to drizzle and the sheen of the trees coated with ice became obvious. Jackie and I turned in for the night (what else is there to do with no light, heat or Internet connection?). But it wasn’t long before the eerie hum of self-destructing transformers and rolling thunder woke us. By 4:00 am the crack of nearby trees relenting to the burden of frozen water played like a symphony. Then a loud crash on our own roof sent us scrambling for our Maglites.

The 40-year old oak trees in our front yard had transformed into sinister mortars in a matter of hours. The sound of a splitting limb would send ice and wood smashing onto the roof. Each time our roof was pounded by a rain of ice and limbs we tensed. Would that be all? Or would another large branch fall and cause the entire house to shudder? All the while we grimaced because the roof was only a year old.

By 6:00 am I was fed up with shock and awe so we made a run for our nearest Panera. We absorbed large amounts of coffee and naively assumed the worst was over. The power was still out but new day promised above-freezing temperatures. We returned home after a couple of hours to find more large limbs had fallen, one poking right through the roof into our kitchen.

Fortunately the puncture was pretty close to the attic access in our garage. I was able to saw off most of the limb where it poked through our roof’s decking and put a plastic tub under it to catch any rain that dribbled through. I tried to push it out of the hole but it was much too heavy. Later that day a couple of entrepreneurs stopped by handing out flyers for their tree service. They were looking for future customers, I asked them if they wanted some work right now. They cut off the offending limb and nailed some shingles over the hole.

We’ll see how the patch holds up overnight. The forecast for Tuesday is scattered thunderstorms.

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