Valentine’s Day is a day to turn up the heat and celebrate your hot romance. Heat, a word East Georgia and western and southern Carolina are yearning for tonight.
Ben Zielger is amongst thousands having been without power the last three days. He is continuing to cut firewood to keep his wife, 14-month-old daughter and neighbors warm.
“I got tired of this about five minutes after the lights went out,” the 33-year-old U.S. Army veteran said at a firewood stand near his Evans, Ga., neighborhood.
Unfortunately the end is nowhere in sight. The power outage is expected to last through the weekend.
Nikki Haley, compared the damage left by the two ice storms to the aftermath of a hurricane. “I didn’t know this was going to be in the same realm as Hugo,” Haley, who toured damaged areas Friday, said of the hurricane that struck in 1989. “To look at these neighborhoods and see the trees down and on houses — to see all of the devastation that’s happened to this community — is terrible.”
The same system dumped more than a foot or two of snow on parts of several states and was blamed for more than two dozen deaths, closed schools, snarled air traffic, caused countless crashed and delayed thousands of flower deliveries on Valentine’s Day. Many residents are on wells with pumps that need electricity to operate. Some people had buckets out to catch the melting ice so they could use the water to flush their toilets.
Roads have begun to thaw allowing few to finally leave their homes. Where do they go? Most places are closed because they don’t have power either. Dollar General Stores are allowing customers to shop using flashlights and only taking cash since there is no power to scan plastic.
Driving is risky! Intersections are frozen, trees have fallen onto the streets and traffic lights are out.
Tedda and Stan Howard were ready to wait a long time to get their power back from Aiken Electric Cooperative. During the day, they cut down broken branches and repaired fences so their goats wouldn’t escape from their 56 acres near Williston. At night, they huddle around the propane heater and played chess by candlelight. They had a neighbor who had power and offered them a warm shower.
“With a hurricane, the storm blows through, does its damage and it’s gone. An ice storm is like a hurricane followed by a series of mini-hurricanes. You restore power to an area, but then the ice comes back and the same area goes down again,” said Bob Paulling, CEO of Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative in Lexington.
Thousands Without Heat This Valentine’s Day
The Associated Press Contributed To This Report