The Ice Storm of '98
 
 
 
Trees (bent by ice) in the morning fog
 
Frozen   Buns   on   Big   Sebago

           (excerpts from "Superburnerman: Hotter Than Hell")                  

In the pre-dawn hours of January 7th, 1998, Superburnerman opened his eyes 
to the squalling of the alarm clock and turned on the news while 
preparing for another day of saving people from freezing in the Great
White North. Much to his surprise, school was canceled in preparation 
for a storm that was expected to drop freezing rain on the area.  Knowing
there had been false alarms of this type in the past, he went to work 
after kissing his wife and kids, like always.

By the time Superburnerman arrived home, there was an icy glaze over 
everything in the great outdoors, and branches had begun to bend 
beneath the weight.  Driving home, bright flashes lit the night, and 
Superburnerman had to wonder:  "Is it flashbacks from college, or are those 
transformers exploding?"

On Thursday, the 8th, rain continued to fall, and the report came 
through that 220,000 homes were without electricity as the lights 
flickered and dimmed in the SuperburnerLair and the computer could 
not hook up with the Internet server.  School was canceled for 
Friday before the children were tucked in on Thursday night, and 
Superburnerman knew frustration, as this was Mother Nature with 
SERIOUS PMS, and even Superburnermanís superpowers canít cope with a 
bloated, cranky woman!

On Friday morning, the newscaster announced that 275,000 homes were 
without electricity...only moments before the SuperburnerLair was 
plunged into darkness.  (The eventual count reached closer to 500,000
by the time all was said and done.)  That day, while Superburnerman 
worked on those furnaces that still had power, his beloved other half,
Mad Mom, dug out long unused camping gear and led the treasure hunt 
through a few local stores for the items they would need to see them 
through a few days of primitive living.  Her foresight was unusually 
keen, for power would not be restored until Sunday, the 11th, by which
time the children discovered the true meaning of the term "bored games".
With Superburnerman bringing back the required quantity of propane, 
the SuperburnerLair remained safe and fairly warm for the duration.  

On Monday morning, school was canceled for the whole week, and Mad Mom
felt her heart fill with dread.  8 school days canceled, plus Martin 
Luther King Day, plus 4 weekend days....Mad Mom did the math carefully,
as math was never her strong suit, and came up with the total of 13 days 
at home with the children, and cabin fever had already begun to raise 
itís insane little head!  With the outdoors sounding like an artillery
range, complete with mortar shelling, they couldn't even consider 
playing outside among the falling trees, even with hardhats!

Throughout that first stormy weekend, men from electric companies from
neighboring states arrived to assist with the clean-up, and by the 
time President Clinton declared the area eligible for Federal Disaster
Aid, hundreds of workers from a dozen or more states were busily 
cleaning away the rubble and restringing mile after mile of downed 
wires.  The numbers of people without electricity dwindled from 168,000 
on Monday the 12th to 47,152 on Saturday, the 17th, yet all was not 
well within the homes of those with power.  Everywhere was the echo
of childrenís voices repeating that ancient phrase:  "Thereís nothing 
to DO around here!"  And within the SuperburnerLair, Superburnerman 
was forced to admit that even superheros can do nothing to keep bored 
children amused.

When power was restored, children skipped off to school, actually
pleased to be GOING to school....as long as it was out of the house!
Parents returned to jobs and as many as possible returned to life as
usual, but Superburnerman?

He stands staring at the sky for long, brooding spells as if wondering
what that old wench, Mother Nature, has in store next.  His arch-villain
is crafty and wise...and the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race is 
just around the corner...


To be continued (DUH!!!)....
 
 
Driving held unusual hazards
 
Credit Where Credit is Due:

A big thank you to The Portland Press Herald Online for the facts and photos that were used for this tale (which, unfortunately was removed after this was published online). The recovery from this storm went on well into the summer of 1998.....and many trees in the forests may well sport broken limbs for years to come!
 
 

 
Walking to the car was even a hazard!  
 
 
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