Wednesday, February 27, 2002

March Comes In Like a Lion

We may be a few days from the beginning of March, but I saw a weather forecast last night that confirms my suspicions that Western New York may be in for at least one more big storm. Since the Ice Storm of 1991 in Rochester, there has been a series of large snowstorms sometime in between the period of March 1st and 14th. It was almost without fail that a foot of snow would get dumped in a short time period, causing schools across the area to close. I’m mostly speaking about Rochester in this case. So when I hear that a large storm system is in the midwest that could come our way and could drop snow over a large area, since it wouldn’t be dependent on the Lake Effect machine, it makes me grin. I’ll have to do some more research on this since this system is apparently behaving with great uncertainty.

Speaking of the Ice Storm

It occurred to me this morning that the Ice Storm of 1991 happened 11 years ago to the day this Sunday. My parents and I actually drove home from Buffalo in it. I knew something was happening and kept waking up to check the power lines outside my bedroom window. You could see the sheen of ice building up on everything. Eventually, the power went out. I think I woke up my parents to tell them, or maybe I heard my dad get up. He decided to get ready for work despite there being no power. I put on my Walkman (tm) and crawled back under the covers. “Baby, Baby” by Amy Grant bubbled over the airwaves as I waited to hear if I had to go to school. For the first time in 14 years, my district closed due to weather. No lie. Our school never closed.

My dad made it into work and then came back home after a few hours. He said you could hear the pop and shot-gun sound of tree limbs cracking off and falling to the ground. Eventually, so many limbs fell that it was nearly impossible to drive down the side roads around my house. I got up and discovered that hot water was still available and made myself a nearly hot cup of tea. Later in the day, my mom, my “brother and sister” Janine and Steven (neighbor’s kids), and I went for a walk to take some pictures. It was chilly out, but sunny. Most of the metro area, including us, figured the worst was over and that power would come up within a day or two. It did not. In fact, over 200,000 people had been left without power. Some for two weeks after the storm. School was cancelled for the week.

Fortunately, my family had two woodburning stoves, one you could cook on. My mom made 8-quarts of chili that was completely consumed by the end of the week. It got quite cold outside and snowed on that Wednesday. My friend Eden and her brother Dana came over to keep warm. It was a balmy 80 degrees in our house with the two stoves going. I think the highlight of the week was going to the Eastman Theatre to hear Michaela Petri (or however you spell her first name) perform recorder solos with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Everyone was dressed in various outfits. My favourite was the man who sat in front of us in corderoys and a flannel. He took off his shoes and propped up his feet on the seat in front of him.

We also had sleep-over visitors. My parent’s friends, Jim and Lu, had arthritis and no power in their house. They were in such pain that they couldn’t get out of bed. They ended up coming over and staying at our house where it was warm. That became my first real exposure to talk radio since Jim was obsessed with WHAM-AM. I think that Saturday our power came back on. My dad did a little cheer at the time. I was a bit miffed since I had enjoyed “roughing” it for the week. Now it was time to go back to the doldrums of school (8th grade at the time).

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