Wednesday, January 03, 2007

It's a stake through the heart of central Nebraska. Four days after freezing rain left inches of ice on everything, it's melting. Tonight that forced the evacuation of the TV station I work for. Thankfully, I work in the news bureau an hour east. My office has power and heat and lights. Can't say the same for the main station. They've been running on generators for days. That's enough power to keep the station on the air, and to power maybe two computers. We've had to anchor the news from our bureau several times, because it's a) the only place with steady power and b) doesn't have giant icicles crashing through the roof.

This is a small icicle, relative to the ten pound chunks that have fallen through the roof of the TV station. A 500 foot tower broadcasts our signal for dozens of counties.

See the coating of ice falling from this street sign? That's a small scale example of what I'm talking about. There are thousands of power poles down. That's hundred of miles of high voltage lines. And it's not like losing power to a square mile of city. Bringing a square mile of rural farm land back on the grid may only bring power back to a handful of people.

The ice storm has left 30,000 rural Nebraskans without power for four days. Sure, it looks amazing, but it's been devastating. That's not 30,000 in one or two towns. That's 30,000 spread out over a dozen counties.

There's ice on everything. Every chain link fence, every power line, every car, mailbox, sidewalk, and tree. It's been in the 40s the last two days, so at least it's melting. But the damage has been done.

Icy fingers reach from my front lawn...

Ice coated each and every blade of grass.

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