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The Little Ice Storm That Didn’t


Weather predictions for the first weekend in December 2013 were dire: freezing rain, sleet, and ice would coat the mid-south, and the worst would be on a diagonal line extending from Dallas, Texas, through Memphis, TN, and up into Kentucky and Missouri. predicted “one of the worst ice storms in years from Texas to Kentucky.” Fox News Memphis reported, “Tennessee declared a state of emergency for the western and middle parts of the state Thursday. Officials are cautioning residents of hazardous road travel and the possibility that downed trees and power lines could knock out electricity.” The National Weather Service called for “three rounds of winter precipitation to impact Tennessee” – one for each day of the weekend. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported the likelihood of “a significant ice storm late Thursday night to Friday night. Additional freezing rain and ice accumulations are possible Saturday night and into Sunday, as a second storm makes its way through the area.”

The freezing precipitation on Thursday and Friday December 5, 6 reminded people of the ice storm of 1994 that left folks freezing and some without power for two weeks. Needless to say, they flocked to the grocery stores to stock up and to the home hardware stores for back-up generators and kerosene heaters.

Many of the weekend’s scheduled events were cancelled, even the High School Rodeo in Holly Springs, MS. Probably the toughest one for folks was the cancellation of Saturday’s St. Jude Marathon that had attracted about 20,000 participants, many from out of state.

But, fortunately, for the mid-south area surrounding Memphis, the ice storm turned out not to be as bad as expected, and certainly not as devastating as in 1994. There was plenty of rain and freezing precipitation, but the previous days’ warm weather may have prevented a lot more build-up of ice. There were slick, icy roads, and there were “…150 power outages that knocked out power to 8.900 homes and businesses,” the Commercial Appeal reported. But the power outages were restored soon, and roads cleared within a day or so.

The mid-south definitely “dodged the bullet” in 2013. But there were some beautiful ice scenes.

TIP: How to handle ice in your horses’ water troughs (if you don’t have heated troughs). Use a sledge hammer to break the surface of the ice (hit the ice directly, in the middle of the trough). Once the ice is broken into chunks, you can easily remove them by hand. Then use a swimming pool skimmer to pick up the remaining smaller chunks.Voilà! An ice-free water trough for your horses!

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