by Matt Wright
Ice Storm 2022 wasn’t as bad as the infamous 1994 ice storm, but there’s still plenty of damage throughout Lakeland. The storm, which started with freezing rain on Thursday, February 3rd, caused widespread tree damage and ongoing power outages throughout Lakeland.
According to The Lake District developer, Yehuda Netanel, approximately 192 trees, which is close to 40% of the trees planted over the last year, have been damaged or destroyed. Mr. Netanel said he estimates about $300,000 in damages and losses at this point. As usual, the California developer took the loss in stride saying, “Life is all about overcoming challenges. This is another example of the cold reality we have been facing. The trees will be replaced and be in full bloom by late spring, like the rest of The Lake District.”
The enormous American flag that flies on The Lake District property even suffered damages when the flag became so heavy from the ice it bent the poll holding the flag 75 feet in the air. Mr. Netanel said that too will be repaired just as soon as possible.
Lakeland residents have also done their best to suffer through the aftermath of the storm. While power has been restored to many residents in Lakeland, there’s still widespread outages as of Saturday, February 5th. Most neighborhoods and homes lost power at some point during the storm and some neighborhoods like Heron’s Ridge, Cool Springs, East Stonebridge, Long Landing and areas of Plantation Hills are still without power. Driving thru those freezing neighborhoods at night can be described as ominous, totally in the dark with little sound other than the popping of ice and the hum of generators.
Heron’s Ridge resident Walter Starnes said they are making the best of a tough situation. “We lost power around 9am on Thursday but are very fortunate to have a gas cooktop and fireplace to make things easier to navigate the first night,” he said. The father of two girls joked things could be worse. “All in all, it has been no more than a minor inconvenience, with our girls taking it in stride as long as their phones remained charged!”
Plantation Hills resident Amber Storey said her family is now on day three without power but her husband, Chris Storey, had a generator from work to run a space heater and TV during their time at home. “We put painter’s plastic up to keep the heat in and managed to get it up to about 60 degrees. We were fortunate. The kids had fun getting to camp out in the living room,” she said. Mrs. Storey said they helped look after an older couple who lives next door and let them share their generator. “Even though it’s been a tough few days, it’s been a great opportunity to spend quality time without distractions with family, and to get closer with our neighbors,” Mrs. Storey said.
With the warming temperatures today and tomorrow, the ice is expected to be gone soon, but the damages it left will be around for some time.