December 2002 – Lousy weather in Carolina

6 DECEMBER 2002 — The icy weather was talked about at work all day, and people looked out the windows with little concern. First the snow was to appear around noon. Then it was pushed back to “after the commute.” Many of us (me included) figured that nothing at all would happen.

It did.

About 2:00 pm the snow started, as I was on my way to pick up some equipment at the computer store at Duke. As I returned, it was apparent that I needed to wrap up and get home. I left work around 2:30, and it took me two-and-a-half hours to make it the twenty-some miles to Rougemont. The traffic was in slow motion, and that included the accidents.

We had time to prepare with some water storage and firewood fetching and all, but the evening was actually quite nice. Everyone snugged in for the night, and we all listened to the trees popping like shotguns in the dark. At about 1:30 or so, the power went out and the uninterruptible power sources complained for a while before failing entirely. I got up to let the dog out, and took a look toward Durham to the south. The sky was lit with what appeared like lightning, though it was probably transformers making fireworks.

Morning was cool and dark. We built a fire to tend all day, moved the cockatiel to the living room, broke out the campstove, and just made do. It wasn’t really too bad during the day, since we could get reasonably warm. Bedtime was earlier — there were no complaints when the kids went to bed at 7:15 after a few games of UNO in front of the fire. We had dragged mattresses into the living room and everyone slept in a line. Aaron and I tended the fire ’til it finally went to hot coals around 3 am. We had only a couple logs left in the playroom to drag up.

People were smelly and grumpy in the morning. We rekindled the fire, and set things in motion again. Lunch at Golden Corral in Roxboro, where somehow they had power. I ate the Lard and Grease Combo. Only Arlene was smart and stuck with the salad.

Power came on around 4:30 pm on the sixth. Shortly afterward a fellow came over from the volunteer fire department looking for a neighbor with keys to the primary school in nearby Bahama. They wanted to open a winter storm shelter. People are still without power and cold.

Tonight, we are lucky.