Yes, for two days in February 2023 our world here in Central Texas did seem to be made of glass. We experienced the worst ice storm that I have seen since I was a teenager. As pictured above everything had a coating of ice. When all was said and done the weatherman reported that we had had .63 inches of ICE!
Now in Central Texas the predominate types of trees are Ash Juniper or Texas Cedar and Live Oak both of which are evergreens. As the ice continued to fall the trees snapped and the powerlines tumbled.
Now let’s backtrack a bit. In about 2016 I was sniffing around on Ebay for Christmas presents. Totally by surprise I happened on a generator that put out 5000 watts and was only $300 with free shipping. Well guess what I got myself for Christmas! We had lived through some multiday power outages during hurricanes while we were in North Carolina so I though this is perfect! And it ran on propane instead of gasoline which we had plenty of with the grill and our propane fireplace which had a 100 gallon tank. Just for reference 5000 watts will easily run your refrigerator a TV and couple of lamps and phone chargers.
When this weather is expected the first thing I do is get my generator and a couple tanks of propane ready. this will give us about 40 hours of power. Next, I get plenty of firewood into a dry area although this past summer I built a small shed over the pile so that is not such a priority anymore. Anyway, after sitting in the dark through 4 hurricanes and another ice storm in NC I have yet to use the generator to power the house. Seems like being ready has shielded us from the inconvenience of no power.
In case you haven’t noticed yet although we had almost three quarters of an inch of ice on everything remarkably the roads never froze! The temperatures especially at night were cold enough but the weatherman attributes this to our string of 70-degree days preceding the storm. Seems that allowed the ground to store enough heat to spare us icy roads. Only the elevated highways froze, and they were closed.
During the second day of the storm the branches began to fall. The first one above almost came in through the front window! But the biggest problem was our driveway area.
In our yard are two huge live oak trees. I trimmed one of them last fall but never got to the second one, the one that hangs over the driveway.
And the limbs began to fall. And snap and break and fall.
We cleared out the driveway five times over the course of twelve hours!
Finally, all good things come to an end. The rain stopped and the cleanup began. Our neighborhood looked like a bomb had been dropped on it.
It took me and the neighbor about a day and a half to get our yards cleaned up. But as he was griping about the tree damage, I saw FREE FIREWOOD! Yes, I trimmed about 9 wheelbarrows full of firewood out of the destruction on our yard, enough for at least the next two winters instead of buying it at $250 a load!
Today, 1 week after the storm 90% of the houses in the neighborhood have large piles of debris in the street. The city says they will haul it off but are not making any promises when. Until then we will drive slowly on the barely passable streets and hope we don’t hit the walkers since the sidewalks are also piled full of debris.
The figures are in. Williamson County and its cities have suffered $12 million in damages from the ice storm. That doesn’t include the ongoing expense of removing all the tree limbs. It’s been two weeks and our neighborhood in still inundated with piles of tree limbs waiting to be picked up. The city and county now have a new problem. The limbs were being picked up and mulched. But now there is so much mulch they have nowhere else to pile it.
Williamson County has asked the state and the EPA to approve the use of a “burn box.” This is an extremely high temperature contraption that burns the limbs with a minimal amount of smoke and ash. Let’s see what happens.
2 thoughts on “Our world is made of Glass and will the tree branches ever quit falling? (UPDATED)”
Holy cow, what a mess! I’m glad your house didn’t get damaged. I can’t believe how much ice you got. That photo of icicles on the fence is really amazing
Dang, cannot believe so many branches broke off. Usually, live oaks are pretty durable.