The icy rain started early and hasn’t let up in over 24 hours. Residents of Rindge, New Hampshire, and surrounding communities are house bound because of slippery roads and fallen tree limbs. Fortunately, many of the people living in this small New England town are prepared for just such an adventure.
Wood stoves and generators are common place here in Rindge, New Hampshire. In fact, the neighboring town – Jaffrey- is home to New England Wood Pellet where the energy efficient wood pellets are manufactured. People in this area have done their homework – generators power the pellet stoves or cord wood powers the older fashioned wood stoves.
Not everyone has a backup plan to keep their pipes from freezing in a power outage. When an ice storm like this hits, and the power lines are down, pipes can burst. Whether or not the homeowner has insurance, the mess and inconvenience of frozen pipes is disheartening. Water damage and cold temperatures can make a family very uncomfortable while they wait out the storm and repairs.
Generators are used by homeowners to keep their house warm enough to prevent damage from bursting pipes. But also, the lucky ones with generators are kept comfortable with electric conveniences like television and radios. Furthermore, you might not realize it but when the power goes out so does the plumbing. Again, those folks with power generators have access to their plumbing and even hot water.
When a storm like this hits New England, residents expect clean up. That means when the storm does pass, people are out in their yards and streets picking up branches, limbs, and sticks that were thrown down during the ice storm. The ice, layered upon the branches, is beyond beautiful when it bends and stretches full grown tree limbs to the ground. Often the limbs snap, creating a nest of broken branches and sticks that need to be picked up and piled away.
In these parts many folks have pets and livestock. Even during an ice storm, animals need to be fed and exercised. These rural residents don boots, coats, hats, gloves, and even studded shoes so they can take their pets outside. Horses, cows, and sheep need to be fed. Backyard farmers can’t stay inside on a day like this. The animals need hay, grain, and even fresh water. So it is up to the hardy New Hampshire residents to venture outdoors, as carefully as they can, to complete the necessary chores.
How long the storm lingers also affects the response from the people. In the beginning, drivers stayed off the roads. But as the hours pass and the necessity for groceries, or other requirements builds, drivers are beginning to hit the streets. Fortunately, the sanding trucks have been cruising the roads continuously and a thick layer of sand and salt is now applied to the street. Still, any amount of salt will not stop a vehicle from sliding on ice. Though a few drivers have ventured out, those who can stay home are still there – at home. And the authorities continue to remind drivers to stay off the roads whenever possible.
In fact, the weather advisory in effect instructs people to stay home as long as possible. All unnecessary activities should be avoided; exercise classes, church groups, and social meetings should be cancelled. And as always, the radio tells us to use our own judgement when deciding to drive on the roads.
No one knows exactly when the ice storm will end. In the meantime, people in Rindge, New Hampshire and many other towns across the region, are making due. And we are all hoping the storm passes quickly so residents can resume a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable winter routine.