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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Inside an Iowa Ice Storm

posted by on March 1 at 11:41 AM

The phone rang in my bedroom yesterday - it definitely wasn’t anyone I expected to be calling me. “This is the Department of Homeland Security,” said the pre-recorded voice on the other end of the line, “If your home is still without power, seek shelter immediately.” Turns out my town has been declared a disaster area!

Coast-centric Seattlites may or may not be aware that an ice storm ripped through the Midwest last weekend. I’m originally from southern California. I couldn’t tell you the different between sleet and hail and had no idea what the hell “ice storm” meant. But here’s the deal: you wake up to a slate-grey sky and rain so cold it freezes when it hits the ground. After a few hours, every pine needle, picnic table and abandoned bicycle is encased in a layer of ice. Soon, the ice starts weighing down tree branches, which snap off dramatically and plunge downward, icicles and all.

Yes, yes, it’s a dangerous disaster area, but people (uh, young people) are too excited about the changed landscape to stay inside and hoard canned tuna and flashlight batteries. All week, people have been wandering the streets with cameras, scampering under the more threatening trees and snapping hundreds of photos. Here’s three of my favorite:

icicles on bicycles

frozen buds
frozen buds.jpg

blades of grass

More interesting than 43 degrees and drizzly, anyway.

RSS icon Comments


hey sarah! good to see you back on slog. i was in Iowa a few weeks ago and i can confirm that i prefer 43 and rain to interesting ice storms. where do you go for entertainment? what kind of fun do you have there? can you walk to several different and interesting shopping areas? any good cafes? i know the answer to these questions already but thought i'd remind you why every single person under the age of 30 i talked to in Iowa couldn't wait to leave. Iowa is boring. The people who live in Iowa, however, are some of the nicest people i've ever met. hope to see you back in Seattle!

Posted by former_co_worker | March 1, 2007 12:07 PM

I'm actually warming to Des Moines. A lot of good bars and the like.

My favourite snow story on the news was the fireman talking, on camera, about downed powerlines when all of the sudden, a couple behind him explode into sparks and start a fire.

Posted by Aexia | March 1, 2007 12:11 PM

Besides, how bad can a city that's hosting the Drinking Liberally National Conference be?

Posted by Aexia | March 1, 2007 12:13 PM

The ice on the bikes is beautiful. They almost look like aliens or something on another planet.

Posted by Mr. Designer | March 1, 2007 12:20 PM

I don't understand the Department of Homeland Security message at all. Doesn't your home count as shelter? Do they mean "seek shelter that has power"? If they're telling you to leave the house and go wander the icy city, looking for someplace with electricity, doesn't that seem more dangerous than staying put in your home?

Posted by mattymatt | March 1, 2007 12:24 PM

so says you. 45 degrees and rain? winter in seattle. paradise.

Posted by phenics | March 1, 2007 12:30 PM

The blades of grass look like a school of those little see-through fish, where all you can see to tell that they are there are their eyes and their intestines.

Posted by Ari Spool | March 1, 2007 12:44 PM

The Des Moines Art Center, icy or not, is wonderful. Arguments could easily be made about how it's much better than SAM.

Posted by Travis | March 1, 2007 1:03 PM

Not only was school cancelled in the wake of a particularly nasty ice storm when I was a little kid, but we got right out there with our skates and played ice hockey on a neighborhood street.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | March 1, 2007 1:25 PM

Lovely to look at, but hell to walk on.

Posted by Daughter of the Pioneers | March 1, 2007 2:01 PM


Posted by Paulus | March 1, 2007 10:32 PM

We (in Renton) had an ice storm like that about 4 years ago.

Posted by Mike | March 2, 2007 4:08 PM

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Posted by ymfbgwl mavjnlxr | March 10, 2007 12:15 PM

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Posted by ymfbgwl mavjnlxr | March 10, 2007 12:15 PM

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