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
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

Preservation Alliance Launches

Preservation Alliance Launches “Places To Save” List

October 20, 2014  |  Buzz

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia reboots their annual "Endangered Properties" list with new "Places to Save" announcements > more

Bless Our Beer Gardens, Past and Present

Bless Our Beer Gardens, Past and Present

October 20, 2014  |  Behind the Facade

Drinking al fresco reached new heights this summer as brilliantly designed beer gardens popped up all over the city. This isn't anything new though, says Nic Esposito. Philadelphia has been publicly drunk since 1671 > more

Old City Orange Façade To Be Preserved

Old City Orange Façade To Be Preserved

October 20, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Historical Commission okays Old City development, the emblematic stairway at the Barnes, Blatstein serious yet anxious about The Provence, 10 homes for NoLibs, and a salvaged cornice delights in Fishtown > more

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

October 17, 2014  |  Vantage

With October at hand and Halloween on the way, we thought a series on historic cemeteries was most appropriate. Our first story presents the strange tale of thirty tombstones that sit embedded in the back wall of the Presbyterian Historical Society > more

Existential Tug-Of-War Along West Cecil B. Moore Avenue

Existential Tug-Of-War Along West Cecil B. Moore Avenue

October 17, 2014  |  Morning Blend

The identity crisis of TempleTown, Family Court opens, artist space coming to Grays Ferry, mixed-use for Ridge, inside the Bok storage facility, and PhillyU collects $60M > more