Friday night,the 29th, Brady and I returned home from our glorious babymoon to Niagara Falls/Palmyra/Lake Placid, New York. It was an extremely hot and humid evening, especially compared to the lovely high 70 degree weather we had been enjoying on vacation. As I got out of the shower the lights started to flicker rapidly and then we lost power. Perplexed I went to the front window to check things out as I couldn't remember it looking like it was going to storm and what I saw was quite exciting. The trees were being blown about as though they were balls of fluff. The trees here are massive and old and imagine very heavy so the wind was have been pretty extreme. The sound was quite terrifying. People say that when I tornado comes it sounds like a train and that's where the sounds of things were heading. I told Brady I thought a tornado was coming, but couldn't quite decide if I should run and save Aurora or keep watching the storm unfold. So I kept watching because that was easier and I was hypnotized. It began to rain very hard and the lightening was constant and all over the sky blinking like strobe lights. Where I live you don't really see the actual lightning bolts very often just the light through the clouds. I watched for about half an hour and then tried to sleep as best I could with the flashing light coming in through the windows.
In the morning the power was still off. My phone battery had died on the way home from New York so I had to pull out my contest winnings from the Department of Homeland Security contest, a nice crank radio/flashlight, to see if their was any news on the conditions of the outside world. Millions were without power and they predicted it would be for at least 48 hours. We took a drive to view the state of things around us and were amazed at the destruction. It looked a crap load worse than the hurricane we had last fall. Trees limbs were everywhere and some trees were uprooted. Trees had fallen on houses and cars. Trees blocked roads. Traffic lights were out. A lot of people were just driving through intersection without treating them like four way stops. Some intersections had police in the 100 degree weather directing traffic. It was chaos.
Life without power is very interesting in record breaking summer temperatures in a hugely populated area. To quote a counsel man from the newspaper "People are pissed." It seems that for a long time the power companies were just assessing the damage and waiting for trees to be moved before they did anything. Plus it was just too dang hot for people to be out working. Unfortunately it is also too hot to be anywhere other than a basement when you don't have power. Luckily we have one of those, but unfortunately a lot of the housing here is mega high apartment buildings. So the best thing anyone could think to do was to head to the Montgomery Mall. We also headed there in search of food that wasn't crackers and unrefrigerated junk food. They were running off generators and all of Maryland was there juicing up their phones, shopping, eating, or just sitting somewhere where it wasn't burning hot. With that many people it was still kinda hot, but better than sitting at an un-airconditioned home. People were fairly well behaved, just understandably irritable given the circumstances and the crowd.
Sunday I was able to go to church, which had power, and charge my cell phone. For some reason we weren't getting service at the house so we were able to make calls from church too.
After two nights of sleeping and living in the basement and the food in our fridge beginning to grow mold we decided to start looking for a generator. This seemed especially desirable as Pepco was predicting power would not be restored until Friday night, and we were only on Monday. All places near to us were sold out and Home Depot was running on emergency power and had no access to their computers to check inventory in other stores. So I called my uncle 2 1/2 hours away to have him find one for us. I got down there to pick up the generator around 8pm and just as I was pulling into his neighborhood Brady called to let me know that our power had turned back on! I bought the generator from my uncle anyway because next time we are going to be prepared.
We were lucky because other friends of mine still didn't have power for days after me and Pepco was right, some didn't get power till Friday or Saturday. Gas stations did not have credit card machines working so gas could only be bought with cash and stores were out of cash. So that is a good reason to keep some cash stored for an emergency.The Safeway close to us estimated a million dollar loss and was throwing all the wasted food into garbage bins.
The storm is being called a Durecho and now this word which no one had ever heard of is common knowledge around here. Like a tornado, it involves wind, but unlike a tornado it is straight wind, not curved. Happens like once every 40 years or something. It was a very amazing storm and I'm glad to have seen it, especially now everything is all better around here. How are things in your neck of the woods?