…and Scary Night

Ice shrouded branches, Cumming, GA 2/17/2015

Today’s photo was shot on my Android phone this morning at about 10.  It is a testimony to the night that we experienced on Monday evening.

It started out with some hope of snow…that possibility was in the forecast, and even looked likely, given the fact that rain was coming down and the temps were to go down into the 20’s.  So, we were hopeful.  But the temps didn’t drop quickly.  Instead, the rain became freezing rain, coating the branches and everything with sparkly ice.

We’d actually hoped for snow, but got an ice storm instead.  And about 9 last night, I started to hear sounds outside.  Snapping.  Popping,  cracking sounds.  Crashing sounds.  And then it became apparent that branches were falling off the trees all around where our RV is parked.  About 11 pm, we’d just gone to bed when all of a sudden there was another crashing sound, very loud, a loud pop and a bright flash.  Yep, you guessed it…a branch had come down and taken out the power line.  It didn’t come back on until 9:15 or so on Tuesday morning.

May I say that it was frightening to be surrounded by such large trees with such prodigious branches…knowing they could come crashing down on our RV and crush us to death?  Prayed a lot, did I!  And, we lived to see the morning, as did our neighbors, though some of them were hit by falling branches that punched through the roofs of their dwellings.

As I look outside, I can still see ice on the power lines…icicles, really.  But at least there is no precipitation in the forecast for tonight, though it will freeze again.  I didn’t sleep well last night…but tonight I think I stand a good chance of it.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1944, Operation Catchpole was launched as American troops devastated the Japanese defenders of Eniwetok and took control of the atoll in the northwestern part of the Marshall Islands.

The U.S. Central Pacific Campaign was formulated during the August 1943 Quebec Conference. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed on, among other things, a new blueprint for fighting in the Pacific: an island-hopping strategy; the establishment of bases from which to launch B-29s for a final assault on Japan; and a new Southeast Asia command for British Adm. Louis Mountbatten.

The success of the island-hopping strategy brought Guadalcanal and New Guinea under Allied control. Though those areas were important, the Allies also still needed to capture the Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, and the Gilbert Islands, which had comprised an inner defensive perimeter for the Japanese. Each was a group of atolls, with between 20 to 50 islets, islands, and coral reefs surrounding a lagoon. The Allies planned an amphibious landing on the islands–all the more difficult because of this unusual terrain.

On February 17, a combined U.S. Marine and Army force under Adm. Richmond Kelly Turner made its move against Eniwetok. Air strikes, artillery and naval gunfire, and battleship fire 1,500 yards from the beach gave cover to the troops moving ashore and did serious damage to the Japanese defenses. Six days after the American landing, the atoll was secured. The loss for the Japanese was significant: only 64 of the 2,677 defenders who met the Marine and Army force survived the fighting. The Americans lost only 195.

The position on Eniwetok gave U.S. forces a base of operations to finally capture the entirety of the Marianas. Eniwetok was also useful to the United States after the war–in 1952 it became the testing ground for the first hydrogen bomb.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream is thought to show a volcanic sunset caused by the massive eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia in 1883. The blood-red sunset could be seen as far away as Norway, where Munch lived.

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