Thursday, February 5, 2009
Children got a day out of school Wednesday of last week, due to early morning sleet and the threat of more.
Snowfall also blanketed some areas of the county.
But we were lucky. The worst missed us.
According to a CNN report the night of January 28, the massive winter storm had left at least 17 people dead and more than a million homes across the Midwest without power. Almost half of those households were in Kentucky.
The storm dumped ice and snow on a region that extended from Texas to Kentucky and left “absolutely everything in northwest Arkansas at a standstill,” an Arkansas police officer told CNN.
“It’s hard to walk, let alone drive,” Fayetteville, Ark, police officer Dan Baker said. “It looks like tornado damage.
“Our officers are wearing metal cleats just so they can walk the streets.”
Shelters were set up in basically every community in northwest Arkansas because there were so many people without power.
The storms then extended their reach into the New England states.
It had all of us feeling fortunate. And it suddenly had us longing for warmer temperatures. We actually reached the 60s Sunday but today (Tuesday) we’re back at freezing and expecting lower. But, as is so common in these parts, 60s are predicted again for this weekend.
Last week’s winter storm that hit nearby states hard also had many talking about Marshall County 15 years ago.
The big front page headline of the February 17, 1994, South Reporter, read – “Ice storm delivers knockout punch.”
Smaller headlines read – “Thousands without electricity when limbs fall on power lines” and “Do you have power? Utilities scramble to restore lights.”
News editor Vicki Carlton wrote – “By Thursday afternoon and evening, the dark silence of town and country alike was splintered only by the cracking sound of tree limbs. Interruption in electric service spread in geometric proportions as the falling tree limbs knocked down lines and snapped utility poles in some areas.”
The front page photo carried a caption – “Courthouse trees destroyed.” And the text read, “The ice storm of 1994 spared nothing in its destruction of trees like the trees that graced the lawn of the Marshall County Courthouse. Even the historical marker was destroyed by falling limbs heavy with ice accumulation.”
Last week I heard conversations of employees here at the office turn to memories of the “Ice Storm of 1994.” They were comparing how long each of them was without electricity at their homes. I think Linda went the longest without electricity.
S. Gale Denley’s column that week said more than 60,000 North Mississippians were without power “in a Deep Freeze.”
The next edition of The South Reporter, February 24, 1994, called it “the worst ever” in Marshall and Benton counties.
Another story that week said 40 percent of Marshall County’s 274,000 acres of privately owned timber was destroyed in the ice storm.
I was fortunate to miss the worst of that one, too. We lived in Aberdeen at the time – just south of that winter storm line. But I recall driving to the northwest into neighboring counties a few weeks later and seeing the extensive damage.
Winter’s still here, and as someone told me over the weekend, we’ve gotten snow before in March.
But here’s hoping and praying we escape anything like last week’s massive winter storm across the Midwest or the famous ice storm of 1994 in North Mississippi.
Spring begins on March 20. That’s just six weeks away.
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