Monday, September 07, 2020

A Storm Eat My Electricity

 For those of you who visit here regularly, you’ll have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in quite a while. On Monday, August 10, my city (and a great part of the state) was hit with what some call an in-land hurricane. These are straight-line winds that reach hurricane speeds. Officially, there were readings of 106 to 112 miles an hour and unofficially, a top speed of 145 mph. The only bright spot here was that the storm didn’t last 24 hours but only about forty or fifty minutes.

With winds that high, trees were toppled, cell towers were taken down, roofs blown off houses, and, of course, the electrical grid was smashed. As I sit here now, writing this on the battery power of the computer, we have been without power for six days and there is talk that we’ll all be reconnected sometime in the next 48 to 72 hours. That is, of course, an optimistic prediction.

That means, of course, anything that relies on electricity doesn’t work. The Internet is down, cable and satellite TV is down and worst of all, the lights are off. The shower water is cold because the water heater has an electrical component to it and without electricity, we are without hot water. The frozen food is no longer frozen, and the food that requires refrigeration has spoiled and is also lost.

The best part of the day is that part with sunlight because when the sun goes down, the light fades. True, we have battery-powered lanterns and flashlights, but those are nowhere near as effective as electric lights and we’re running through batteries at an alarming rate.

We do have one small battery radio so that we are able to get some news (some 24 hours after the storm had passed), but, of course, we’re not interested in the latest on the rush for a vaccine for Covid-19, or that Joe Biden had picked his running mate, or that Congress and the Senate, which is to say the Republicans and the Democrats can’t agree on anything and spin everything to make themselves look good and the others look bad. Rather than work together to solve our problems and provide relief, they fight with each other and nothing is done.

Ironically, and I’m sure those making the statements aren’t really thinking it through, but we’re told what websites to access for emergency information. We are told that a list of agencies offering help are listed at various websites. Of course, if we had access to the Internet, that might be useful information, but doesn’t really help us.

In talking to friends and neighbors, not to mention those I regularly communicate with around the country, it seems that the story isn’t about the devastation to the city, but to the crops. Original estimate of ten million acres destroyed has been up to 14 million. Government officials touring the state have gone to the small communities, many of which have had their power restored while we, in the second largest city in the state, are without power a week after the storm hit.

National Guard officials, many of whom had been to Louisiana to assist with the aftermath of Katrina said that the destruction rivaled that. We have hundreds of buildings that have been condemned. It was only recently that some of those government officials made their way here. They said the same things that they always say but then return to their homes outside the area of devastation and promise aid will be coming. At least we don’t have to deal with high water levels. We did that in 2008.

I hear, from others, that the national media hasn’t really covered the story. There were no shark attacks here. There was no looting here. Instead there were neighbors helping others. My neighbors saved me hours and hours of work by pitching in to clean up the yard from the downed trees, dragging them to the curb for pick up sometime in the future. All the streets are lined with the debris but some of the trees, huge, giant trees, that were literally uprooted are still laying where they fell. In some places, the powerlines are still down and laying across the road. The only thing done about that was a detour set up so that we could avoid crossing the lines. Not the kind of news that makes national headlines.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining here but merely letting you know what is happening. We do have batteries and computers that work. To access the Internet, I’ve been driving about 30 miles to a rest area where there is free WiFi but that is unhandy. My car allows me to recharge my phone, but the process is slow and really not worth the effort. And with the electricity off, even if my phone was charged, I couldn’t access the Internet because, well, the electricity is off, cell towers are down and that meant that the cell phones couldn’t find a signal.

I would say this is like living in the 1930s, except by then, nearly everyone had electric lights. While they needed electricity to run their radios, we don’t. The problem is that their radios were filled with entertainment like Gunsmoke, and The Lone Ranger, and Burns and Allen and Jack Benny and we’re stuck with Sean Hannity. Slowly, the radio stations are coming back on so that we can find some good music (and I’ll let you substitute your own definition of good).

The point is that with the Internet down, and the electricity off, I couldn’t really check my email or review the comments here. Every 2 days or so, I’d make the drive so that I could do those things, but there were so many emails (and so much of them junk including a local car dealer offering special deals), that I just looked for those that were critical and hoped everyone else understood.

In the next few days, as things get back to the new normal with constant political ads that tell lies and news that is spun so hard and fast that doesn’t reflect reality, and we still social distance, I’ll try to provide some commentary on what is truly important. That we change the UAP back to UFO and that we ignore the posturing of those who only wish to advance themselves and the truth be damned.


RedTornado2008 said...

That derecho left me without power for five days and no internet for seven days. Not as bad off as some people but you still miss what you don't have. At least no one was injured in my circle of family and friends.

Good to have you back, Dr Randle!

Tom Livesey said...

Glad you are back and safe. As for not liking Jazz, well... who can account for taste? Enjoy the rock on the radio, and best wishes.

KRandle said...

Thomas -

Didn't say I didn't like quiet jazz (of classical music), just that I preferred the classic rock station. Anyone who grew up during the 50s and 60s were exposed to both in various cartoons on Saturday mornings. I sometimes listen to both and one of my favorite songs is In the Hall of the Mountain King... but for background music, just like classic rock.

Paul Young said...

Sounds like things are tough across the pond.

This is what happens when you breakaway from the British Empire, Kevin.
Eventually, it all goes pear shaped. (Same thing happened to Rhodesia.)

I'll put a good word in for you...and maybe we'll accept you back.