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Ice Storm 2009 was the worst ice storm in the area for about the last 40-50 years. Most people I have talked to say that they have lived here their whole life and have never seen anything like this. We have had several other ice storms and winter storms before, but this takes the cake for how destructive. Power outages was not rare in this storm, some raw numbers in the beginning were:
Paducah Power - 22,000 customers, 21,500 without power
Jackson Purchase - About 3/4 of their customers without power
Also several companies such as:
Southern Illinois Coops
had power outages.
Those are just TWO of the many power companies that serve the Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, and Northwest Tennessee area. All the pictures in this slideshow were taken in the Paducah, KY area since it was unsafe to travel the roads in the beginning and throughout the storm and its aftermath. Unlike many others, most Paducah Power customers (like me) were able to get re-energized after about 4-7days to try to continue a life around here. There are many people that may not be re-energized for another 30 days after the storm. That is due to around 1,500 poles taken down that need to be all replaced.
Ice Storm 2009 can be described in many words. such as amazing, "I cant believe my eyes", unbelievable, desvistating, but to everyone I have talked to that went through this including myself has described as a "War Zone". I cant tell you how many times I have heard these words spoken; "This is like a war zone!" and well, it was in a way. The first 2 days and 2 nights were the worst. My parents and I had to sleep bundled up in front of our gas logs to try to stay warm, but there was one thing that kept making us get up, branches, trees, and maybe just a noise across the house worrying about the worst. It just seemed like it never stopped, branch after branch, noise after noise, everything coming down. One of the worst nightmares for us was (like many others) a tree falling on the house. This was a full reality for many people just in Paducah, but what about all the people who are living out in the rural areas, in the forests, how did they do? Most were lucky, yet many weren't.
Kentucky went into a State of Emergency on Thursday, January 29th, which in turn let us recieve help and supplies from the military bases and National Guard. The relief was nice, but there was much to do. Paducah police went door-by-door to all the houses in much of Paducah and made sure the person, or people living in each one were ok and didnt need any medical assistance or assistance from the Guard. Tree trimming companies were thriving and running back and forth around much of Paducah. It was not a rare site to see the EMS, police, or FD to roll by either going out on call or returning to the station because of overwhelming numbers of calls about arching wires, trees on wires, fires, trees on houses, injuries, trees on cars, medical assistance, etc.
Paducah Power has done and is doing a amazing job at trying to regain power to all their estimated 22,000 customers. By the time they had reached around the Jefferson Street area from 28th to 34th, most people had power and Paducah Power had around 6,000-7,000 people without power. Each day there seemed to be a steady rise in the number of people getting re-energized in the area which was a major relief to people. There have been a few issues as well even with that. Some of Paducah that had just gotten re-energized got knocked out again due to the falling/melting ice off trees and powerlines. But that wasn't anything too major, most people got their power back that day again.
Ice Storm 2009 will never be forgotten. We can put this in the history books as one of the worst ice storms in the area. This has been deadly too. There have been reports of several deaths due to no power and other injuries due to debris, etc. I would like to put a special thanks to all the power company workers that frantically brought people's power back. Also all the EMS workers, the Paducah Police, the Paducah Fire Department, and all the tree trimmers out there too for getting everything in the clear for the emergency services. Thank you all, we would have not gotten through this without you.
Pictures taken on Tuesday, January 27th to Friday, January 30th.
The Final Countdown by Europe