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Scroll down for details (thanks to Megan for the pics)…

A severe winter storm bore down on Sikeston Monday night and unleashed a 36-hour torrent of freezing precipitation on the city.   The picture above was actually taken before the worst of the damage.  By the time the storm moved out Wednesday morning, we probably had around 2 inches of ice (that’s a guess…I haven’t seen an official estimate) on trees and power lines.  Most of the city remains without power late Wednesday night.

City utility crews are working extremely hard (as they always do) to restore power as quickly as possible.  It’s been a really tough week for them.  Less than a week before this storm hit, we had a circuit breaker explosion and fire in one of our substations that caused considerable damage, and some power outages.  A utility employee caught part of it on video.  From just a little bit farther away, a spectacular, eerie, and slightly unnerving light show lasting several minutes lit up the partially darkened city.  The first blow was fire.

Then came ice.  As freezing rain began falling Monday night and accumulating during the day Tuesday (January 27, 2009), a number of power lines, including a 169,000 volt transmission line south of town, began to come down.  Tuesday night, utility poles began to snap.  By Wednesday morning there was extensive damage to trees, residences and businesses, and several of the 69,000 volt power lines that tie our substations together.  I’ve seen a lot of ice storms in my 53 years, but never anything like this.

Roads, as you can see below, turned into obstacle courses.  Some streets were much worse than this one.  Downed limbs and power lines made a few roads impassable.  Continued below…

Even at best, there will be some difficult days ahead for Sikeston residents.  Power will be out for several days.  There’s a lot of speculation, but I’ve heard estimates that power may be out anywhere from 3-7 days.  It’s amazing how dependent we are on a relatively new innovation (electricity), isn’t it?

Obviously, the loss of heat in the winter can be very hard on those who are sick or elderly.  Some residents have storm water and sewer drainage problems in addition to power loss.  And, of course, cleaning up the debris and repairing the damage will take days, and even weeks.

That’s just part of the ongoing saga of Sikeston’s winter of fire and ice.  If you think about it, pray for those who are suffering, here and elsewhere.  Thanks.