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Western Kentucky Ice Storm Of 2009.
A Rockport/Echols Web Page.
Rockport Pictures furnished by Larry & Betty Lindsey.
Beaver Dam Pictures taken by Jerry & Dotty Durham.
Mouseover Each Picture For Information!
A jrd stat on 12/7/09

Rockport Presbyterian Church.
Monday, January 26th, 2009 was just another winter day to most Western Kentucky Residents. It was winter time in Kentucky and Monday was cold, but not to the extreme. That night a wintry mix moved into southern Indiana and most of Kentucky. I looked outside a few hours after dark and saw some precipitation, but nothing to be concerned about. Precipitation began as light freezing drizzle and freezing rain, but changed to sleet and then some snow into the early morning hours of Tuesday. By daybreak on Tuesday the 27th, precipitation changed to freezing rain and rain in our area. Ice over an inch thick was reported in many locations from the freezing rain. Tuesday night freezing rain and sleet continued and transitioned to rain. Minor...mainly river flooding developed in some spots by Wednesday from the steady rain. On the morning of Wednesday, January 28, precipitation changed over to snow from northwest to southeast across the area. About 3 to 4 inches of additional snow accumulation piled up in the north, with less to the south.

The storm caused Kentucky's largest power outage on record, with 609,000 homes and businesses without power across the state. Property damage was widespread, with the damage due to falling trees, large tree limbs and power lines weighed down by ice. In the Louisville metropolitan area, 205,000 lost power and it took up to 10 days to get everyone hooked back up. Louisville Area school systems were closed for an entire week. The school systems in Ohio County, and Muhlenberg County, were closed for a much longer period of time.

On January 27, 2009, we awoke cold and hungry. Most of the other residents in Ohio County awoke under the same conditions. Some time in the wee hours of the night an ice storm had hit us and we lost our electricity. Oh well, we had lost electricity before and soon, it should be restored. The scene outside was somewhat different that we had ever seen. It was sleeting and a combination of snow and freezing rain. The tree limbs were beginning to break under the weight of the ice. It just did not dawn on us that we were in the middle of the worst natural disaster that has ever hit the state of Kentucky, or at least since the invention of electricity. From Paducah to Lexington, the trees were bending over and some becoming uprooted and most others were losing limbs. Two large tree limbs were blocking our drive just in front of our garage door. Unknown to us was the damage or the conditions on our access road to our main road, US Hwy. 231 about a quarter of mile from us. Some 10 large trees were blocking our access in one direction to this main highway and several other trees and limbs were blocking the road in the other direction. US Hwy. 231 was covered with ice and the new falling snow was only making matters worse. A state of emergency existed and the state of Kentucky was asking travelers to stay home unless absolutely necessary to travel. Don't worry, Fire Tower Loop residents were stranded, but were survivors. Fire Tower Loop was ice covered and now the snow was falling. The pictures to the left are just a small sample of the loss of trees and limbs in our area.

It did not matter if you lived in Rockport, Beaver Dam or Central City. Something was happening that most of us had never seen nor heard. About mid-afternoon, of the first day of the storm, I was outside and heard a loud noise. I thought to myself that a neighbor was firing a shotgun and was wondering why. Oh well, maybe they have a limb over their house and was trying to shoot into the mass of ice to see if they can cause any of it to fall, thus maybe stopping the limb from eventually breaking. Again, another shot and then another. It was sometime later that I realized that the sounds were coming from tree limbs that were breaking. If you were outside, you heard the sound, a sound that I will never forget. Eerie and scary. In every direction, and on our property, limbs were breaking and trees were becoming uprooted and the sounds were, as one would imagine, like being in a war zone. I hope that those that survived the area conditions are never exposed to that peril again.

We have a kerosene heater and two "Coal Oil" lamps with several flashlights and a ample stock of batteries. We have a grill and food in the freezer and refrigerator. We can make do. We have no other choice. For the next three days, we are marooned. We make it just fine. Fact is, I think that we ate better than before the storm. One morning, we had breakfast of coffee, orange juice, bacon, sausage, eggs, regular toast, and French toast, all cooked on the grill. We cooked beans on top of the kerosene heater and heated soup and other food items that we had or had cooked on the grill. We had steak often and several meals of hamburgers. We also had peanut butter and jellies. We still had water, plenty of soft drinks and coffee. Our family room was kept warmer that we normally keep it and it reached temperatures of seventy four degrees. Our bedrooms were about sixty at night. Not bad and we had a cockatiel that kept as warm as normal, and he was our "Carbon Monoxide" detector. If he died, we were going to the detached garage.

For three days we lived in conditions that existed eighty years ago. The cell phones do not work very well when they lose electricity for an extended period of time and the land line phones were about as useless. We arose early in the dark and went to bed early in the dark. We made do with what we had. For three days, we listened to an eerie sound of limbs being torn from trees due to the added weight of ice and of entire trees being uprooted and falling. It, indeed, sounded like a "War Zone". On the second day of the disaster, I cut back enough of the fallen tree in front of the garage to allow us to get out in case of an emergency, but was blocked again by another tree limb from our pretty Bradford Pear Tree. I cut out another path and by now, with a four-wheel drive vehicle, access to Hwy. 231 was possible. Our son-in-law was a big help in delivering us a supply of kerosene. He made a few trips to Bowling Green for the kerosene and made sure that we did not run out. By day three, the area residents had cut back the tree limbs that were blocking the "Fire Tower Loop" road and we were able to get out and go to Bowling Green for supplies that included a full tank of LP gas. The US Postal service was able to deliver the mail. Things were looking better. Where our road and US Hwy. 231 was ice and snow covered and dangerous, by driving slowly, we were able to get out. At no time did any county or state equipment make an attempt to clear the snow and ice from the roads. Finally, three days later, the sun and warmer temperatures melted the snow and ice. Once we got out of this county, the other counties on the South had used equipment to clear their roads. We did not venture to Muhlenberg County, to the West, as it was probably as bad as our situation.

Five days after the Ice Storm, our governor announced that the KY National Guard had been mobilized and was being sent to the disaster area of Kentucky. It was a big disaster area that extended from Paducah to Louisville. Four counties of Kentucky were hit the hardest and they included: Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Ohio, and Hancock Counties. Three days after the storm, two shelters were set up in Ohio County. Eight days after the storm, electrical power was restored to our area. It would be two weeks or more before other residents received power.

For those of you that survived the storm, I am not telling you anything that you do not already know. For those of you that are reading this, and the storm was just something that happened to someone else, you would never believe the conditions that were presented to the area residents. I just hope that no one will ever have to meet the conditions that occurred late in January of 2009.

See you.....

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Steps to the old Methodist Church.
Hulet Curtis' Old House.
Looking toward the Old Railroad Bridge at Rockport.
A view of our back yard.
A view of Our front yard.
A view looking at a tree across our driveway.
Our two guineas had it rough.

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See you.........