ICE STORM 2014: Beautiful But Deadly

February 6, 2014 |  by  |  News  |  , ,

 

Sure it's pretty—just don't stand under any trees for too long | Photo: Bradley Maule

Sure it’s pretty—just don’t stand under any trees for too long | Photo: Bradley Maule

I can assure you, they make a sound. Trees fell in the woods and all across Greater Philadelphia during this latest douse of Winter 2013-14. Nearly a million people have no power, traffic and trains are a nightmare, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has become a State of Emergency, and more winter’s coming. Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t play.

For me, when snow comes, my immediate inclination is to get outside and bring my camera. An ice storm? That’s a rare treat, but one with serious risk when it’s adding extra weight to trees already burdened by snow. Anyone who’s seen the Ang Lee film The Ice Storm knows the danger.

In spite of the warnings—the every-three-minutes chunks of ice and snow Plinko’ing their way down the tree canopy, the sounds of sirens and chainsaws, and a suggestion from the Friends of the Wissahickon to not go into the woods—I headed for the woods. Not two blocks from home, with stuff falling all around me, I wondered if I should turn around and get my bike helmet.

On the day CVS announced it would stop selling cigarettes, the $2B loss it would suffer for it was already being felt in Mt. Airy, where the poor corporation couldn't even shovel or salt its sidewalk. (The driveways and parking lots were okay though.) | Photo: Bradley Maule

On the day CVS announced it would stop selling cigarettes, the $2B loss it will suffer for it was already being felt in Mt. Airy, where the poor corporation couldn’t even shovel or salt its sidewalk. (The driveways and parking lots were okay though.) | Photo: Bradley Maule

Lincoln Drive’s two final blocks in Mount Airy, between Mount Pleasant Avenue and Allens Lane, resembled a Currier and Ives print; the French Village looked like a fairy tale. Starting in on the slushy Cresheim Trail, the tumbling ice and snow became constant, and I wasn’t ten minutes into the woods when I saw a giant branch fall a good 60′ from a tree. Good time to turn around.

Having flirted enough with disaster, I returned to and stayed on city sidewalks—where they were shoveled. Most folks did a great job of keeping pedestrian thoroughfares clean: private homes, small businesses, apartment buildings. But some, like the CVS located at the prominent intersection of Mount Pleasant and Lincoln, and a number of the mansions lining Allens Lane, went untouched, leaving bipeds to their own devices.

Throughout the neighborhood, residents were clearing the woodland debris from their homes and yards, mail carriers and sanitation workers continued on business as usual, and I kept my camera as dry as I could while shooting these photos in West Mount Airy. Click any photo to launch the gallery.

About the author

Bradley Maule is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and the creator of Philly Skyline. He's a native of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and he's hung his hat in Shippensburg, Germantown, G-Ho, Fishtown, Portland OR, Brewerytown, and now Mt. Airy. He just can't get into Twitter, but he's way into Instagram @mauleofamerica.



3 Comments


  1. Bwahahaha: “On the day CVS announced it would stop selling cigarettes, the $2B loss it will suffer for it was already being felt in Mt. Airy, where the poor corporation couldn’t even shovel or salt its sidewalk.”

  2. These put a beautiful face on the disaster. It was a rough day in the ‘burbs.

Recent Posts
A Monumental Shift At Dilworth Park

A Monumental Shift At Dilworth Park

October 24, 2014  |  Vantage

Olin's design for Dilworth Park gives Philadelphia what it has long struggled for: a suitably grand approach to the monumental City Hall, says Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin. Here's his review of the park, now essentially complete > more

Kenney To Hist Commission: Put Buildings On Register, Get More Funding

Kenney To Hist Commission: Put Buildings On Register, Get More Funding

October 24, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Firm would simply recoup money through ads, Councilman Kenney wants to bolster Historical Commission, Councilman Henon undaunted by Planning Commission’s non-recommendation for Mayfair overlay, and Guinn hard at work on latest mural > more

Bill Seeks To Preempt Tragedy With Better Data For Firefighters

Bill Seeks To Preempt Tragedy With Better Data For Firefighters

October 23, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Blueprint reconnaissance for firefighter safety, improvements to the Burk Mansion, City Council considers beautification of vacant land by former convicts, and more inaction on PGW sale > more

Why The Flying Saucer Deserves Your LOVE

Why The Flying Saucer Deserves Your LOVE

October 22, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Preservation Alliance calls iconic LOVE Park building a “place to save,” zoning changes introduced for parts of North Philly, another firm for the Navy Yard, and a sinking pharmacy in South Philly > more

The Missing Namesake Of North Philly's Lost Necropolis

The Missing Namesake Of North Philly’s Lost Necropolis

October 21, 2014  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Next up in our Halloween cemetery series: Harry K hits the tomes looking for the missing obelisk of Monument Cemetery. Is it sitting in a gravestone dumping ground at the foot of the Betsy Ross Bridge? Its fate may be forever unknown > more

Of Birds And Drinking Water

Of Birds And Drinking Water

October 21, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Inside the East Park Reservoir, Temple students adopting blocks, UCD to start early on 40th Street plaza, and Jewish life gets a boost at Penn > more