Kentucky’s Historic Ice Storm Five Year Anniversary. Has it really been five years? For most of us the painful memories of January, 2009 are still fresh. It was the worst weather catastrophe to hit our area (so far) in the 21st century. I won’t go into a long story here about what it was like. I’ll let my photos tell the story. Besides, most people in Western Kentucky have their own horror stories.
But I will just say this. It wasn’t just the inconvenience of not having power. Or not being able to charge a cell phone. Of having to boil water–or worse, not having any water at all.
It wasn’t just the fact that you had to drive to another county to get food, gasoline, or kerosene for heaters and lamps. It wasn’t the run on batteries, or putting up with relatives huddled on your couches. It wasn’t the fact that we had no power for 19 days (at least at our house), or had no hot showers.
It wasn’t even the canned food heated on a kerosene stove or an outdoor grill. Or the expense of buying a generator only to watch it blow up after an hour.
No, it wasn’t any of that when you get right down to it. It was this: People died. Animals died. And we lost–at one estimate–300,000 mature trees in Kentucky alone.
300,000 trees. It’s almost unbelievable. And yet, for those of us who will never, EVER forget the eery sound of trees breaking and crashing in the night, it’s entirely believable.
I recall my first hike in Land Between the Lakes after the ice storm. It was March. All the hiking and biking trails were covered with fallen trees and limbs. You couldn’t go more than a few feet without encountering a large tree knocked over in its prime. Most of them never recovered, of course. To this day you can see evidence all around of the devastation that was the Ice Storm of 2009. May we never have another.
For those complaining about the “polar vortex” (and yes, I’ve been one of them), look back at these photos and remember: It could be so much worse. Kentucky’s historic ice storm was one to remember. Some of us might want to forget.
© Wade Kingston
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