Wednesday night, we lost power around 8pm in KC. Later, Vic and I thought we might like to go out and shoot some nice pictures of the ice covered trees. However, it was too hazardous to even walk to the end of the block. The bone-crushing sound of collapsing trees rang through the darkened blocks almost every 2-3 minutes. At that time, the ice was over 2 inches on the ground and when the tree limbs hit, that ice, the tree's ice and the tree itself would rumble the pavement with every hit. Not only did it look like a war-zone, but it sounded like one too. Finally about 1am, a giant limb in the neighbor's yard behind us cut loose. The tree was about 50-60 feet tall and the limb that fell was about 10 inches in diameter, branched out 15 feet in the air and was the full tree height. It is still attached at one end, the other fell across the power, phone and cable lines for the block. It's force snapped 4 feet off the top of the next power pole and it crushed 3 sections of fence with it. And the branches just kept falling. Off in the distance, we saw a slow, continuing din of glowing explosions. Transformers blew and lit the horizon in blue and green and red. Most were quiet, but others hummed an awkward, ominous grumble and some just exploded like cannons.
We really didn't sleep that night.
News the next morning was that approximately 285,000 KCPL customers were reported to be out of service. That didn't include any rural customers not in their area. Both Missouri and Kansas have declared a state of emergency, the National Guard is expected to arrive to assist in relief efforts and FIMA funds have been applied for and teams have been called in from 9 states to help in clean-up. We didn't expect to see our power restored, particularly with the extent of damage we had personally for over a week. At the Ranch in Warrensburg, we had a good kerosene heater and a small generator, so we took a drive out to get it. The entire route there, we just shook our heads in disbelief. It was like driving through a hurricane-torn coastline. Mile after mile, county after county was just the same with topless trees and crushed trees and objects. We saw power lines along the highway that collapsed with NO trees on them, just the weight of the 6-10" long icicles on them the entire distance. We had somehow hoped or expected that the damage would end somewhere between us and Warrensburg, but we were there before we saw any let-up. Down on hwy 13, it was the same story. We turned in on 00 and found power lines down across people's driveways so they couldn't get out. We saw two poles that just collapsed into piles on the edge of the road, halfway onto it, that the power company just put up orange cones around so people could go around them. Our place didn't have much to get damaged, but what trees were there originally were pretty-much crushed. Every single mature tree had damage.
So we collected our generator, heater and came back to KC. We have a little trouble still moving through the neighborhood, since the ice is still there and many tree branches are just lying so low they touch the ground. We have now strung a number of essential items to the generator, so we can do business and keep warm, but today, 2 full days later, there are still an estimated 200,000 people without power. Mile after mile of KC is dark. The post offices are closed. Banks are closed and even Walmart is closed.
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