Ice weighs in
As I write this, Springfield, Mo., has not yet emerged from an official state of emergency. On January 12-14 an ice storm hit the Midwest, depositing one and a half inches of ice on the Queen City. A week and a half later there were still some 9,600 Springfield customers without power — nearly triple that many in the vicinity. About 75,000 customers (residences) had initial losses of power. Many, like my family, were tantalized by a brief return of power, then lost it again for several days.
More than 1,300 workers from outside the area formed 225 tree-trimming and 137 line crews in the city, in addition to local workers.
People rushed for generators and supplies. There were long lines at gas stations, and the shelves of some local supermarkets were sparse. Churches opened as shelters and housed displaced schools. Those who could held out at home with makeshift and minimal heating. We huddled around our gas fireplace listening to storm reports on a small transistor radio.
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt activated the National Guard to do house-to-house checks in the area. The governor, whose own home in Springfield lost power, said the storm was “the largest mass-care, natural disaster” Missouri had ever faced.
In Springfield we had no driving winds or even hard rain — just light freezing rain.
We watched helplessly as the ice gradually bent elegant and stately trees, eventually snapping those too rigid to bend farther. Falling trees took out miles of power lines; some crashed through roofs and onto cars. With highs below freezing for several days, the ice was hesitant to dissipate. The Springfield public works director said the debris could total 1.75 million cubic yards. All from the weight of frozen H2O.
We have learned to be grateful for what we have. Returning electricity was greeted with spontaneous shouts of joy. We have so many blessings. May we all determine to be thankful to God for every good gift (James 1:17) we have.
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