Friday, January 29, 2010

Storm Report

Rather than get online repeatedly over the relatively short period of time to blog the storm dubbed as "Winter's Triple Threat" by the Weather Channel, I used my cell phone to text a few tweets. Now that it's all over for me but for the melting, here's a consolidated log of what happened in my part of the country.

Wednesday, Jan 27 - Nice, balmy weather, high over mid-60s during the day. Plugged in my Garrity LED emergency lantern to recharge. Replaced batteries in electronic (lighted) Solitaire game in case TV goes out. Thought about making a run to the store but still have enough from my last trip plus my preparedness kit. Only chips and dental rinse are likely to be used up within a week and they aren't worth a special trip to the store.

Thursday, Jan 28, 1 A.M. - Took a short walk at 10:30 P.M. to talk to others who were also out. Now back, I'm feeling that the temperature is starting to fall. Still okay wearing short sleeves and light jacket.

3 A.M. - Dang! It's cold. Put on a heavier jacket to unload some forgotten bottles of seltzer water from my car's trunk because I don't want them freezing and breaking back there. Hands hurt, should have worn gloves.

4 A.M. - Rain started.

8 A.M. - Still raining. NOAA Weather Radio reports it's 35° F, wind chill 24° F.

10:30 A.M. - Still raining. Now 32° F, wind chill 18° F. Ice accumulation is 1/8-1/4 inch. Branches breaking. Wind 30 MPH gusting to 40.

4:30 P.M. - Rain finally stopped. Ice-covered trees, power lines, down on houses and across roads. Older power poles have been snapping from the wind and weight of ice up to as much as an inch and a half thick.

Local TV isn't reporting temperature or wind due to frozen instruments. It reports damage and says just about everything's closed tomorrow, running a stream along the lower edge of the screen naming specifics.

Local police are guarding live wires on roads and have blocked a long stretch of one of the major roads in town because of downed lines and poles and being wary of more poles going down along that stretch.

Only one shelter is open because icy roads make driving so dangerous that officials want people to shelter at home rather than risk injury on the road.

Some smaller outlying towns are advising to conserve water as the water pumps are electrical and not working because the power's out.

7:30 P.M. - Local news predicts possible sleet/snow through Friday noon but worst is likely over. Thank God I haven't lost power and am safe & warm.

Friday, Jan. 29, 6 A.M. - Uh-oh. Power & phone are out. Cell phone still works. Glad I have the lantern because I can stand it in one spot for general room light and save my flashlight for looking at details if needed. I leave a light switch flipped on so I know when power's restored.

7 A.M. - Considering over 170,000 people and businesses lost power yesterday, the guy on TV who took a hammer and chisel to the ice to demonstrate how ineffectual it is to chip it away, and not knowing when my power will be restored, I filled a gallon jug, five quart water bottles, and my kettle with water in case the city's water system loses power, too. This is in addition to the 3 gallons of spring water I previously bought to make tea. Thought about getting the gallon jugs from my trunk destined for the recycle center and filling them but decided it best to keep my door closed to retain heat.

Thought about taking a shower while there's some heat left in the hot water tank and decided to make do with sponge baths if it gets to that point. Should have bought baby wipes for my preparedness kit to conserve water.

8 A.M. - Whoo-hoo! Power & phone are restored after only 2 hours. Thank You, Lord, and please bless the repair crews for their great work!

11 A.M - It's snowing very lightly and evidently has been for a while. My car's covered. I find only one AM and two FM radio stations on the air.

2:30 P.M. - The ice is melting but will surely freeze again when the temperature drops tonight. No matter. It should all be gone by Monday and I can stay in all weekend.


This storm has definitely been worse than the blizzard of Christmas Eve because of the ice wreaking havoc on the trees and power lines & poles. Sure, the roads are terrible for driving, but with everything closed from government offices to schools and most businesses, the majority of people don't really need to go out, anyway.

Curiously, while many run to the store to stock up on food before a storm, I never see or hear of anyone who stocks up on bottled water considering that it takes two weeks to die without food but only three days to die without water. Hopefully, everybody keeps adequate self-bottled tap water on hand for their 72-hour preparedness kit like I do.

All things considered, it's possible that all the ice and snow will be melted away before the power's restored to everyone making ice and snow as a source of water unreliable even if it's worth the effort of collection.

Respectfully submitted.

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