Ice Storms and Power Outages

Ice Storms and Power Outages

By: Mrs. P.


Find the audio for this story at my YouTube Channel: HERE
Download the transcript in PDF format: Ice Storms and Power Outages

Hi there! It’s Mrs. P. here. So, based on some feedback that I got from you guys, my viewers and watchers, I decided that today’s story is going to be the first of stories from my life. So today’s stories are going to be about my experiences about power outages.

My goal for this story is to be at an advanced level. So, I’m not going to be filtering my vocabulary or slowing down at all, or avoiding using idioms or phrasal verbs at all. I’m just gonna be talking, just as if I was telling these stories to a close friend of mine.

So, to start off with, the first really major power outage that I can remember was when I was about 13 or 14 years old, and there was a huge storm that blew through that had some tornadoes and things like that, and it knocked down a bunch of trees, and some power lines, also, were knocked down, and, as a consequence, thousands and thousands of people in Michigan were without electricity. And my family, because we lived way out in the country, we were, like, low on the priority list for… for getting our power restored. Because, of course, if you can repair one line and have six hundred people get their electricity back… compared to repairing one electric line and having, like, 10 people get their power back, they’re going to choose the one that has more people benefiting from it.

So, my family actually was without electricity for over four days. And it really didn’t affect our lives all that much. As the fact that we lived in the country, we heated our house with a wood stove. We had a, uh, a gas stove is what we cooked with. Our water is pumped up via electricity from the ground, so, as soon as we found out that the electricity went out,  we went immediately to our drinking water filter, and we took everything that was in the pipes and the system in the house, and went… uh, put it into containers of water to drink. But as far as, like, washing your hands or flushing the toilet,  we just had to do a few extra things, like…uh… At this time, in my family, we still had little children at our house, my little brothers and sisters. So, we had baby wipes for cleaning and changing the diapers, so we just put a container of the baby wipes in the sink in the bathroom so that people could use the baby wipes to wash their hands. And then, for the toilet, my older brothers went and got a giant bucket and went down to the lake that was by our house, and just scooped a bucket of lake water and set it in the bathroom, so that when we needed to flush the toilet, we could pour that water into the toilet, and it would flush.

So, really, it didn’t affect our lives all that much. We didn’t have light, but that’s no big deal. You just light some candles. And we didn’t… my family never had internet or anything like that anyway, so it didn’t really affect our lives that much. I remember it being kind of a nice little adventure. It was fun. We played… we went to bed at a more decent time than normal, because we didn’t want to stay up late and burn the candles way down low. And we played a lot of board games. I remember reading a lot more in those couple of days, and really, REALLY enjoying it. It was like a nice bonding experience for my family, almost like we had gone camping or something like that. So, that was my experience in general. Most of my experiences growing up when the electricity went out was kind of like that. It was no… really no big deal. We were still warm. We still had food. We still had water.  It was just, kind of like a bonding time, almost like camping with my family.

However, this last weekend, I got to experience kind of the other side of that, where if you are living in the city and the electricity goes out. So, on this weekend, we had a…. We call it “freezing rain”. It’s an ice storm. Basically, it only occurs when there is a very specific temperature condition that is met. So, right at the point of freezing, zero Celsius. It’s warm enough that the precipitation that is falling is rain, not snow. But then, once it hits the surface of a car, or the road, or, you know, trees, or things like that, then it freezes to ice before it can actually fall all the way to the ground or soak into the ground at all. And it’s incredibly beautiful (‘ll try and post a picture here for you guys so that you can see). But, it’s incredibly beautiful. It looks like everything outside is just made out of glass.

And, generally, when we have a storm like this, schools are cancelled and people don’t have to go to work and things like that. Because it’s dangerous, very dangerous actually, to try and drive on the roads when they have a coating of ice on them. So, it’s another, kind of usually like a little bit of a vacation when that happens.

But the one really bad side effect if these conditions occur for more than a couple of hours, is that it builds up a layer of ice on, um… on the power lines that go above the houses and above the roads. And that sounds like not such a big deal,  except for the ice is heavy, and as it builds up it gets heavier and heavier, and it will actually pull the, um… will actually pull the cords down to the ground. So, in this last weekend, I saw two different instances where these electrical lines that had fallen down had caused a fire. And both of those fires didn’t spread very far, but I did see two different instances, and I’m sure there were more. And then, in our area, about 4,000 people were without electricity because of these power lines that had been pulled down to the ground from the weight of the ice. So, we were one of those people, one of those 4,000 people, who lost our electricity on Saturday night of this last weekend.

And at first I was like “ok, no big deal”. But I quickly discovered that it really was kind of a big deal. Because when you live in the city, at least in our little apartment, the situation is: we have a heater that is a gas heater for warmth in our house, but you have to have electricity in order to start the heater. We are… we didn’t have any running water, because all of the running water requires electricity to pump it. Our stove, and oven, and all of those things did not work at all because they’re all electric, not gas at all. So, we had no way of cooking food.  Our microwave, of course, didn’t work, ’cause that’s also electric. And our refrigerator and freezer didn’t work.

So, basically, the electricity went out in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday, and it was about Sunday afternoon…and my husband and I were sitting together on the couch, and we had this blanket up around us, and we, our puppy, Winston, was between us. And we were, the three of us were kind of snuggled up on the couch just kind of talking. My husband was reading out loud, and I’m sitting there, and my… I can see my breath. Because as I… Every time I breathe I can see the breath because it was so cold in our little apartment.

So, um, as  you can tell I’m a little bit sick, probably from all of the cold weather, and the being in the cold environment this weekend.

Anyways…Uh… my, uh.. I… I, uh

So, it’s Sunday afternoon, and I had a job fair with interviews the next day, on Monday. And we called the utility company to see if they could give us an estimate of when the electricity would be repaired and back on again. Normally, they say something like: “the electricity should be on in two hours” or “your electricity should be on by 8pm tonight” or “by 4am tomorrow morning”. But, in this case, when we called they said, “we have no estimate”. Which means, probably the electricity’s gonna be out for quite a long time.

So, in this case, I actually pulled out my phone and texted a friend of mine from church, and said, “Hey! Do you guys have electricity?” And she responded back by saying: “Yes, we do”. And then, before I could even send her a question in a text message, she called me and said: “Do you guys not have electricity?” And I said: “Yes, really we just need a shower. I need a shower so that I can be prepared for my interviews tomorrow”. And she said: “No, no, no. Come to our house and spend the night at our house. We’ll cook you dinner and all of that”. So, we actually spent about 24 hours at this friend’s house. And it was really, really great. I’m so glad we had these friends that took us in. And I actually taught some of my online lessons at their house, because we had no internet, because we had no electricity at my house. But on Monday, finally, the electricity was repaired and we came back home.

So, uh…Those are just a little bit of my experiences with an electricity power outage. When I was a kid, it was no big deal. It was kind of an adventure. And, granted, it was kind of an adventure as well this last weekend, but living in the city there is a lot, um, bigger repercussions of having no electricity, compared to when you’re living in the country. At least in my experience.

So, I hope that you enjoyed this story. If you liked kind of the variety of hearing a little bit of a story from my personal life, then please let me know. I would love to get some feedback about some of the variety of some of the things that I’m going to be doing in the next month or so. If you’ve just stumbled on this video, and you have no idea who I am, then please check out my website at

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