Memories of Ice Storm 1998: 2
It is fitting that Environment Canada has issued a freezing rain warning for this area, forecasting up to 20mm of ice starting tonight. Today is the 16th anniversary of the start of a five-day ice storm that left so much of Quebec in darkness for weeks. Between the 5th and 10th, inches of freezing precipitation coated the landscape, toppling trees, buildings and hydro-electric towers alike. 4 million people lost power in total; we lost it for 15 days but some school friends were dark for five weeks. The area I lived in then was the worst affected, with over four inches (100mm) of freezing precipitation. My parents and I stayed one night at home before travelling to Toronto. That trip still lingers in my memory, driving for 6 hours past black towns and cities before finally seeing some electricity in Kingston.
While Ice Storm 2013 was not of the same magnitude, it did bring back memories. While cooking supper on the balcony, I listened to the trees snap and fall, about one every three minutes. Getting around to take pictures in the yard was treacherous because the ice caused me to slip around. It was no small feat for my husband to snowblow the driveway because the previous snow was sealed by a thick layer of ice. Nevertheless, we were relatively lucky. It was a good to enjoy quiet time without the distractions of modern living but was happy that it didn’t last any longer.
The maples and birches were hit hard. It will be interesting to see how our maple forests will fare this time. Events like these precipitate changes in the understory plants, with the effects cascading upward in the food chain.