A Look Back At The Ice Storm Of 2009
When I tell people about the ice storm, which took place this week date for date five years ago, I tell them it was unlike anything I've ever experienced before or since. I mean I can remember when I was in third grade and we missed so much school due to snow, we had Saturdays as make-up days. Snow is fun, but ice? Not so much.
My story begins on that Monday. Let me start by saying two things, one, I was not living in Owensboro at the time and two, I was helping out with all the newscasts for both stations. As anyone who works in morning news knows, it's very early hours, but you finish up and you have your whole day ahead of you. Since we were already bracing for something to go down, I thought I would ask if I could stay somewhere in town just to be on the safe side. My manager agreed, so I went back to Hartford to gather up some clothes and by that evening, I was settled in at a local hotel. I think it may have snowed that night, but when I was scheduled to wake up the next morning, which was about 3am, I noticed an eerie silence. And here's an example of what I saw.
Okay, it was much, much darker, and I would have taken a picture sooner, but...not only was the power out everywhere, there was no cell phone service. Talk about taking things for granted. Not only was I unable to call anyone, I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it to the station. Luckily, I wasn't that far away, so I started down Byers, and right at the top of the hill before the four-way stop where Byers and Veach intersect, a tree was blocking my way. Plan B, take the bypass, but that wasn't much easier. Ice on top of snow all the way. Needless to say when I started down Frederica towards the station, zero power and it was looking like the makings of a major disaster. I know Chad and Dave Spencer came in, but there wasn't much any of us could do, which when you are a radio station, and there's no power and we couldn't get the generator to work just yet, all we could do was sit and wait. We would soon welcome our late friend and colleague Joe Lowe and his family, and I want to say a big thank you to Joe. Since the power was down, ATMs were also down. He lent me a few bucks, and I was very grateful for that.
By that afternoon, we were able to get some power back, and we began informing the public and we took calls, and stories from around the tri-state area. And since I was our newswoman for the moment, I went to at least two emergency management meetings at the Daviess Co. Courthouse that week to gather all the information I could to relay back to our listeners. My biggest memory is that we all stuck together, and you see, a big chunk of the population only had radio as their main source of information. I came to realize just how powerful my medium was and I'm proud I was part of our incredible team/family. \
After a week of spending my nights at the hotel, which included one night with no power and I swear I had the worst headache of my life, I decided to go home. But my family wasn't home. They decided to head south to Bowling Green, where it had barely snowed. So I would join them over there along with a few of my relatives. My sister and brother-in-law purchased a generator while we were there and me, Mom, and Dad would stay at their house for a few more days. We could only run the generator for so many hours, then we would bundle up at night to try and sleep. And without a beat, I would get up early and I would head into Owensboro for work every morning. Here's a photo of some damage at Mom and Dad's.
About halfway through the second week, we had our power back, but there was a lot of clean up to do with limbs and I would see several trees in our neighborhood, trees that had been there for 30 years, go down. To repair the power lines, the tops of our huge pine trees in the backyard had to be cut off.
So when I see all this footage from a similar storm affecting the South right now, I can relate.