Greetings from the Great Frozen North!

DSC09953aI was awoken at about 4AM Friday by what sounded like gunshots but was in fact cracking tree limbs. They were frequent and often followed seconds later by enormous ‘thumps’ as they hit the ground. Every time I heard a crack I cringed fearing it would fall on something I cared about; I was especially concerned for our many skylights. About 430A there was a series of bright flashes and the unmistakable sound of arcing electricity. The light on the clock-radio blinked a few times and fell dark.

Our power was finally restored last evening around 5PM — 37 hours total outage. We have neighbors that were still without power as of late last night. Our telephone service is delivered via the internet so without power we have no phone either. Cell coverage was knocked out a few hours after the power failed as the battery backups in the cell towers drained.

Other than a few large tree limbs and a few broken shrub branches we made it through unscathed. No damage to the house, cars or us. It made it down to 47F inside the house (without power we have no heat, water or telephone). Amazingly the fish (tropicals that prefer water temps in the high 70s/low 80s) survived without a single casualty! I’m not sure they would have survived another night with outside temps in the low teens.
Icy Buds

I’ve seen trees down on sheds, large limbs on porches and huge landmark trees stripped of most of their limbs. We hovered right around 32 and accumulated about 3/8″ of ice on the plants. Apparently the ground temp was high enough that we did not get significant icing on the roads – a very thankful thing. We have a few large trees that may need some damaged limbs removed; they are no where near the house so we’ll wait till spring for that.

I spent most of the day Friday and Saturday in the Andover & Lowell libraries. They had the three basic necessities: heat, power and internet access (Hurray!). Neither downtown area (Andover or Lowell) seemed to be effected by the storm but some of the neighborhoods appeared as if some drunken tree-mower had come through. Many side streets were blocked and the main arteries were often down to one lane.

We did stay in the house Friday night but were prepared to camp out in my Boston office (which has showers, a kitchen, cable TV, etc) last night. Luckily our power was restored as we were packing to leave.

It goes without saying that I took the opportunity for some photos!

My iPhone was my primary link to the ‘net and performed admirably (when cell coverage allowed). I was able to keep in touch via SMS and to feed the Twitter beast.

All-in-all things are returning to normal. We’ll prob. venture into the yard today and start the cleanup keeping one eye up for those limbs that are yet to fall.

Thanks to all for your concern.

Update [3:50PM]: One of my photos was picked up by a Dutch news site. I’m displayed alongside two Associated Press wire photos; I’m humbled and a bit giddy.