Thanksgiving 2004 came and went with colder-than-normal temperatures, and weather forecasts of a winter storm heading our way in Caseyville, Illinois. This particular storm was during our first winter in a new home — in a new town — and we felt greatly challenged.
During the day on Friday, dark clouds slowly moved in, so my husband and I prepared our pantry with a stockpile of food, our medicines, salt and sand to keep our drive and sidewalk free of ice and snow, and enough pet food and treats to keep all of our critters happy and content.
Unexpected power outage
After eating and bathing, we settled in for the evening in front of the television. Suddenly the wind picked up. A moment later the TV flickered, and then we completely lost power.
A power outage was something we had not been expecting at the onset of the winter storm. All through the night the winds blew viciously. For the next couple of days, wet snow came down in a blur, followed by three days of icy rain.
We kept our battery-operated radio on constantly and heard frequent updates of road crews being dispatched throughout the area, repairing downed power lines. Yet we remained without power for an entire week, with the temperature in the house steadily dropping to 42 degrees. It seemed as if we couldn’t throw enough down comforters and thermal underwear on to stay warm.
Good friends, neighbors
Monica, the woman who delivered our mail every day, was kind, checking on us and asking if we needed anything. In addition, our neighbors, Kay and Dick, checked in with us each afternoon to make sure we were doing OK. Without these wonderful folks checking on us, I’m not sure we could have so bravely withstood the weeklong ordeal.
Surviving the winter storm and marveling at the winter beauty
My husband and I, along with our critters, made it through. When the electricity came back on, we set the thermostat to 76 degrees, and then I headed to the bathroom for a long, hot shower.
In spite of all the inconveniences during the week, the surroundings were absolutely beautiful. Everything shimmered with crystallized ice and snow. Many limbs had fallen, creating a macrame of “sculptures” across the landscape, in which I imagined all sorts of figures, kind of like when looking up at the clouds in the sky.
Luckily, we haven’t experienced such a long power outage since, and I hope we don’t again.
Read more fun winter tales by CAPPER’s readers in Winter Stories.