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How to Survive An Icepocalypse: Oklahoma’s Worst Ice Storm Ever

Our house – December 2007

In December 2007, our family was frozen out of our home for 11 days after the worst ice storm in history hit Oklahoma. More than 650,000 people lost power. Today, meteorologists warned Oklahomans that a winter storm of similar magnitude will hit the Sooner State on Wednesday evening. By Thursday, they anticipate we’ll see experience major power outages. Oklahomans are on edge, including me!

How To Survive An Icepocalypse, Also Know As the Worst Winter Ice Storm Ever.

A year ago, I penned these 11 things the last ice disaster taught me, and I thought I would share them with you today. May God keep you safe in the storm.

Taking care of children is more important than not taking unscheduled leave. Unless you are bound by duty to respond as the first line of defense in the actual crisis (in which case you’ll have a plan for your children already in place) crises at home take precedence over keeping up appearances at work. Keep your priorities straight and take annual leave. The world will somehow manage without you. Really.

Know when to dip into savings, get a loan or break out a credit card. In hindsight, we should have bought a generator.

Have a crisis plan for your family. I’ve been in PR for a long time and I could write an organization’s crisis plan in my sleep, but I was without a plan for my family.

Shop for Christmas in January, or at a minimum, November. The storm hit on December 11. We were out of our house until December 23. I had done no Christmas shopping.

Storms bring people together. My ex-husband was the first person to call Robert and me and offer to let us stay with his family. He was one of the few people who had not lost power. We were so grateful for his hospitality. They fed us dinner and breakfast, helped us with the kids, and then they lost power…

In the absence of Amish-like friends, hire help. Robert suffered a major injury while moving downed tree limbs. He is still dealing with it and will have to have surgery eventually.

Practice roughing it. Sharpen your survival skills, emotionally and physically. We ended up staying with my mom, who lives in a 450 square foot apartment with one couch and a bed. We had to figure out how six people were going to share it all, and there was absolutely no place to crash on the floor. Almost all the hotels were without power and the few that weren’t were full. We all lived without sleep, which lowered our resistance. We all got sick, and this says nothing of the emotional strain. At the time Sully and Bridgy were BOTH in diapers!

Be good to your momma. Only a mother will sleep for 10 days in a wing-back recliner, so her children and grandchildren don’t have to.

Be kinder to men, they don’t live as long. After a week at my mom’s, Robert started spending the night at our house. It was below freezing outside and we still had no power. He did this so the kids and I had a better shot at sleep. He got very pneumonia but thankfully recovered.

Keep perspective. In at least one case, a tree crashed through one Oklahoman’s home and paralyzed her. The effects of the storm were temporary for us.

There Is No Place Like Home. Two years later, and I am still more thankful for our home than I was before the storm. Returning home after power was restored was the best Christmas gift ever. I missed everything about it: our tiny closets and our drafty rooms; the creaky hardwood floors; the narrow staircase. The kids were thrilled to return to their bathtub toys and refrigerator art; their beds, their books, their routine, and the bed I never really liked never felt so good.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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17 Comments

  1. Daddy Forever

    I hope your recent ice storm wasn’t as bad as your last one. That’s the nice thing about Portland, Oregon. We get a lot of rain, but it rarely gets too cold or hot around here.

  2. jen

    @STEFUNK, LANCE and UNDERSTANDING ALICE – Thank you!!!

  3. le @ whoopwhoop

    hello dear one – great post … we are dancing with a cyclone at present – Olga – what kind of name is that for a Cyclone !!

    She is building to a cat three which is significant but not all out destructive if you know what I mean … caravans gone and some roofing off ..

    She is an ex cyclone at present .. I’ll post about her … on current predictions we are not in the immediate hit zone but will have 110km winds sometime in the next few days … we have some minor flooding right now ..

    Just another day in Whoop Whoop …

    Just sending a staffer out to head count the town for evaculation planning – but don’t fret – I know we will be safe 🙂 le xoxo

    ps that’s cause I’m IN CHARGE 🙂 and have a GREAT TEAM !!

  4. jen

    @ALLY – You’ll love this. I bought this house the year I turned 38. I was pregnant with my son at the time. 20 months later, I had a little girl. There is plenty of time for all your dreams to still come true.

  5. Jenny

    Well written, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the temp warms up and you just get rain. Those forecasters are wrong all of the time, right?!

  6. jen

    @KENT *INconceivable* I meant to say….

  7. jen

    @KENT – It is horrible to think of the plight of the Haitians. In addition to losing what little they had, they’ve lost 200,000 fellow countrymen. It is conceivable, and I can only pray that through this storm all our hearts are broken and that we catch a glimpse of a reality, that for Haitians will not surrender soon enough. It is terrible, adn every day I wonder – what can I do? We make our donations and God I pray – we don’t go along our merry way.

  8. Understanding Alice

    Well its 10pm here so Im guessing its 4pm with you…. all the best and mucho blessing on you all through this storm… x

  9. Stefunkc

    Perfectly said with warning and humor:c)

  10. jen

    @TERRITORY MOM – Thank you so much. I pray it all goes well for all of us. LIke I said, this is making me even more concerned for Haiti – than i already was. Being forced out of our homes indefinitly is nothing compared to human loss.

  11. jen

    @JOHNHAYES – Thank you!

    @MEG – I’ll never be so relieved over hype if it goes that way. It really was terrible in 07

    @MEGAN/SORTOFCRUNCHY – All I can tell you is 11 days without power was impossibly long. We never saw it coming. I wish we’d headed south while we still had time. You can always come back home if it turns out to be nothing. But, if you’re there – you’re safe and warm. Prayers that we all get through the storm without injury or loss.

  12. Territory Mom

    I’ll be praying for you that you do not lose power or water! Stay safe.

  13. Lance

    Jen,
    That last one really jumps out at me…there is no place like home. It’s easy to take for granted all that we have…until we don’t. Be safe these next few days.

  14. John Hayes

    Very wise words–hoping this predicted storm doesn’t have the same effects for you & your family.

  15. jen

    @BALLERINATOES – We’re neighbors!?! How cool!! The December 2007 ice storm led to big decisions about my career, too. And, my fingers are also crossed. The boss who expected you to have bells on??? The worst is head for him if he has not changed…God bless you in the storm!

    @LOFO – Thank you! All this makes me think even more about those poor people in Haiti.

  16. kent fischer

    nothing like home… and nothing like a family that is concerned about all of their families… immediate and extended. May the storm be brief and the weathermen fail on their predictions of a bad storm.

    When I was reading your comment about being out of your house for only thirteen days I could not help but think of all those families that go thru huge disaters like Haiti. How I’m sure they long for their cozy home.

  17. Meg

    So very true! I’m not looking forward to a repeat at all. I’ve actually been in denial and have been avoiding the tv. I’m feigning ignorance.

    Truthfully, we’re as ready as we can be, but still…eeek!

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