Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ozark Ice Storm: World Isolated from Northern Arkansas

Ice Storm in the Ozarks
(Image from The Grunge House)

I was wondering why I hadn't heard from my Ozark kith and kin recently, but this photo shows the reason. The Arkansas Ozarks are covered with inches of ice, as shown in the image above. Actually, the reality is worse than depicted here, for the powerlines in this photograph still look functional, which may explain how the picture reached the world outside. Here's what 'Bullet Luke' of The Grunge House has to say:
I have a friend that's totally iced in. He got hit hard by the ice storm in Arkansas. The last time I talked to him he had no hot water and he's running on a generator for electricity and wood for the stove to keep his house warm. The pic in this post is scenic, but eerie because the power pole is bending under the weight of the collected ice on the lines. A tree branch broke and landed on his truck, and everything that looks like snow is, in fact, ice.
You can see the image better at Bullet Luke's Grunge House, but expect some music when you arrive (though you can turn it off by scrolling down a bit and clicking on a button) -- or (as I've just realized) you can click on the image above and get a larger, more detailed version.

I was motivated to go searching for an image because of a "Weekly Rambling" message from Cousin Bill, who lives in Kansas and is therefore far away from the damage. He reports on what he's learned by phone from Uncle Cran and from Cousin Martha's husband, Bob, about various relatives on the Hodges side of my family (though no word yet from Salem on my mother or my brothers John and Tim):
Things are okay Kansas way -- not so in Arkansas, as Mother Nature wasn't kind to northern Arkansas this past Monday, with ice eliminating electrical power to everyone.

Attempts to contact Woodrow, Cran, Martha, Velna and Virginia were unsuccessful until late week, when I finally got through to the Foster's (Bob answering). I was able to contact Cran yesterday, however, have not yet talked to the Woodrow's or others.

From conversations with Bob and Cran, appears the Woodrow's are fine, currently residing in the cabin (the phone is in the big house). Bob advised Woodrow has two working generators, so they'll be okay there. And the Everett's are fine, with Curren and Velna day tripping to Little Rock to purchase generators.

This morning I found Martha now has some "generator juice" powering the necessities (computer). Her email advises all may be without electricity for several weeks.

Bob and Cran both advised the whole area looks like a war zone -- timber down, and most power poles and lines at ground level.

Cran says they've got every available container filled with water (melted ice scooped from outside) with drinking water brought in from Mt. Home. He says his generator is not yet working, so they're living life as in the "old days".

All, apparently, are cooking on woodstoves and grills. And as Bob and Cran said "we'll survive".
Wow, that's worse than any ice storm that I ever experienced growing up in the Ozarks. The one that my family and I woke up to a year ago during our Ozarks visit was harmless compared to this -- as can be seen in my "Ozark Photoblog."

Cousin Bill concluded his email with an implicit appeal for thoughts and prayers on behalf of those still out of touch:
I know some won't receive this email, so request those receiving do let the others know we're keeping everyone in our thoughts and prayers.
People will need those as well as practical help if they're truly to be without electrical power for several weeks. I expect some alarming photos from Uncle Cran when he finally gets back online after this ice age is over. And since I'm speaking not only of kin but also of kith, perhaps that 'professional hillbilly' JK will have photos to share.

Now that I think of it -- and have also checked -- I see that Denny of Exploring Izard County has already posted images, including videos (especially this one), of what is being called one of the worst ice storms in Arkansas history.

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At 11:11 PM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

In Melbourne, we were without electricity and water from Tuesday evening until noon Friday...and were very, very lucky. We have one laundromat in town and it has been teeming with victims of the storm every day since the roads became navigable.

I feel for everyone in Fulton County to our north (as well as to those in the nether regions of our own county). Though we haven't ventured up that way, our colleagues at work insure us that the damage was even greater there.

At 3:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is by far the worst winter storm I have seen in my 49 years. There are some areas in Fulton County that still have no electricity. We are ok and grandma's house is as well, however many trees are damaged or destroyed. I imagine in could have been worse.


At 4:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Denny, I watched both of your videos, and the scenes were astonishing to me. That ice storm was the worst that I've ever seen, but it had to happen sometime in a place with such wacky weather as the Ozarks has.

Last year, a tornado. This year, an ice storm.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Tim, somebody will have to send photos from Salem and the surrounding area so that I can compare. I'm putting up three photos this morning to show a bit from Aunt Pauline and Uncle Woodrow's place and from Cousin Martha and her husband Bob's place.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 5:13 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

"Last year, a tornado. This year, an ice storm."

A tornado, two 100-year floods within weeks of each other, and last week's ice-storm ALL within ONE year's time!

At 5:16 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

BTW, we were hoping this recent event would be like the one you experienced during your visit last year...beautiful yet without the inconvenience. We thought we'd dodged it on Tuesday...then the trees started exploding into splinters!

At 6:27 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Right on both counts, Daddio -- all this destruction and all that beauty within a single year.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Ruth Skrapates said...


Maybe the following links will lead you to some photos taken around Salem.




At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I hope you don't mind but I forwarded your email direct to Jeff. I thought perhaps the direct link would work better.


At 5:27 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Skrap, thanks for those images of this winter's worst ice storm. I've seen none worse in the Ozarks -- though I admit that, having left in 1975, my experience is limited. I keep hearing references to the ice storm of 2000, as though folks can't decide which is worse.

Anyway, I feel cold, really cold, just looking at those photos.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 5:29 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I just got home and haven't checked what you forwarded, but I'll look at that too.

I may be posting more images in the next few days.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


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