Centennial Blackout Continues

The blackout count reached as high as 225,000 according to the radio today. Traffic throughout Tulsa is snarled by downed trees and dark traffic lights. Not only is our power still out, the phone line went dead this evening.

Brookside from the KVOO Tower shows dark areas caused by blackout.The good news is temps stayed above freezing overnight and most of the day today. Now the heavy load of ice has melted off the trees our nerves are much calmer. Unfortunately there are still some very unstable chunks of oak tree dangling over our house.

My office is still closed– no power or telephone service. I’ve been trying to conduct some business and post web site updates from the neighborhood Panera. An entire new class of Coffeeshop Warrior now exists at any wi-fi hotspot. Coffee optional.

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.

Air Control

I installed a new windscreen on the R last week. On long trips and windy days the short sport screen just wasn’t cutting it. The wind that is.

The new screen is made by Cee Bailey and mounts to the original brackets BMW supply to fit their sport and touring screens. They offer several styles and this one is the tallest option. Their windshields are made of high quality aircraft-grade plastic (I think they’re Lexan).

It’s a good deal taller than the sport screen that came with the bike when I bought it– and a good deal more useful too! Some might not agree, but I also think it looks pretty sharp. The “ice blue” tint goes well with the silver bike.

I snapped this photo near Inola during a recent ride up around Spavinaw. The radome caught my eye from Highway 412 and seemed just weird enough to make an interesting background.

Click here...

The Ice Man Cometh

Yuck. Another blast of freezing rain pelted Tulsa yesterday. In typical Oklahoma fashion the thermometer dropped from 65°F to below freezing in just a few hours.

Our last winter blast left about ten inches of snow on the ground. This time we’re in for more ice as the temperatures at higher altitudes are above freezing. The rain freezes as it nears the ground! Once colder arctic air moves in, the air aloft will be colder so we’ll get snow. Right now they’re not predicting that will happen, so we could have three days of freezing rain and sleet.

Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of 1987 when ice literally coated Tulsa and knocked out power to huge sections of the city. Trees and power lines were coated with a thick layer of ice and the night sky was a symphony of color as transformers began popping. Some neighborhoods were dark for two weeks!

So far the brunt of the “ice coating” has been just southeast of us. Hopefully our luck holds out for the next couple of nights!