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.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Unraveling Myths About Philly's Pioneering African American Architect

Unraveling Myths About Philly’s Pioneering African American Architect

May 23, 2019  |  Vantage

Amy Cohen separates fact from fiction surrounding one of Philadelphia's most famous architects, Julian Francis Abele > more

A Fine And Public Space: Preservationists Revive Philadelphia's Historic Cemeteries As Vibrant Spaces For The Living

A Fine And Public Space: Preservationists Revive Philadelphia’s Historic Cemeteries As Vibrant Spaces For The Living

May 21, 2019  |  Vantage

New life is blooming at Philadelphia's historic cemeteries. Starr Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

Appetite For Deconstruction: North Philly Nonprofit Tackles Three Pressing Issues With One Program

Appetite For Deconstruction: North Philly Nonprofit Tackles Three Pressing Issues With One Program

May 17, 2019  |  News

Philly Reclaim brings sustainability, historic preservation, and job training together with its architectural salvage program. Kimberly Haas has the story > more

Arson & Archway Raise Awareness Of A 19th Century Architect

Arson & Archway Raise Awareness Of A 19th Century Architect

May 14, 2019  |  Vantage

Pauline Miller takes us on a journey from Old City to Mount Moriah Cemetery where the work of architect Stephen Decatur Button struggles for longevity > more

A Fond Farewell To Paley Library At Temple University

A Fond Farewell To Paley Library At Temple University

May 10, 2019  |  Last Light

Paley Library closed its doors to the public on Thursday after serving Temple University for 53 years. Michael Bixler says goodbye to the mid-century modern library with this photo essay > more

In Kensington, Old Textile Mill To Be Revived With Apartments

In Kensington, Old Textile Mill To Be Revived With Apartments

May 7, 2019  |  Vantage

Gotham Hosiery, once the country's most popular pantyhose manufacturer, quickly rose to fame and crashed even faster. Now, the nearly 100-year-old mill at 2nd and Norris is getting a residential makeover. Rob Masciantonio dives deep into the history of the old textile mill and details on plans for redevelopment > more