The recent back-to-back storms that dumped about two feet of snow on Wyandotte County reminded me of two things. First, that Mother Nature will do what she wants to do. And second, that we are very dependent on municipal services.
I cannot recall during my 70-some years a week when we were hammered with so much snow in less than a week. I guess we were spoiled after a very mild winter a year ago. But all this snow was more than welcome for those who sell shovels and ice melt. And those who provide commercial snow removal were also pleased.
The Boss Lady and I were among more than 21,000 customers of the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities who lost power. The second winter blast was very heavy laden, dragging down tree limbs and taking power lines with them. We lost power about 3 a.m. No telephone, No Internet. No furnace blower. No electricity for the kitchen stove or refrigerator.
I called the BPU electric trouble line—but it was overloaded, despite its 44 incoming trunk lines. The temperature in our living room dropped from about 70 degrees to a chilly 58. We put on three layers of clothing and wrapped ourselves in blankets. We had cold cereal and milk for breakfast and hoped that wouldn’t be our lunch and dinner menus.
An old battery-powered transistor radio was our only link with the outside world. The message from public officials, via radio announcers, advised everyone to stay at home unless it was absolutely necessary to venture outside.
It certainly was a relief when electric power was restored that day at about 10 a.m. A brief interruption in power a few minutes later gave us a scare; however, that lasted for only a few minutes.
I visited with Dave Mehlhaff later that week. He is the official spokesman for the BPU. I told Dave I was glad that BPU trims trees to guard against falling limbs hitting power lines. He said that there has been some cutback in that effort—but that it might be time to reexamine that effort. I agree.
In past years after snowstorms, the public works trucks from the Unified Government usually have plowed the streets in our subdivision within 24 hours. But that wasn’t the case after the first most recent snow; it took four days. And then, to add insult to injury, when the snow truck finally came, it buried our trash in a huge snow mound. However, I will give public works credit for their efforts after the second winter blast; the streets in our subdivision were plowed within a little less than 24 hours.
Mother Nature let us know, in no uncertain terms, that she was in charge. The snow will melt, although this huge amount will be with us into March. We take comfort in knowing that warmer weather will be here in the next several days. Spring comes Wednesday, March 20.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.