Thursday, September 18, 2008

Power outage, Hurricane Ike in Ohio

Wow, what an interesting week!

Sunday afternoon, we were in Gabriel Brothers when the power went out.  We went outside and the wind was crazy.  It was sunny outside, but the wind was such that it felt like you could just lay down on it, sort of rest diagonally in the air.  The big metal tube "return your carts here" corrals were blowing over and we knew it was time to get home.  Traffic lights were out, but fortunately we live only about a mile from the mall area.  

We got home and the power was on, but it had gone out, so we shut down and unplugged the computers in time for the power to go out again.  We went outside and everything was crazy.  It was beginning to cloud up, but the wind just didn't stop and it never did rain more than just a misting.  Our shingles were beginning to flip up, so I tried placing some 8' 2x4's on the roof to save the shingles, but then they started flying off the roof, so it was time to ditch that idea and just let the shingles go.  

My son and I decided to have a bit of fun, so we got our skateboards and a few big pieces of cardboard, held the cardboard like a sail, and went whizzing down the road on Ike Power!  It was fun.  

After that got a bit old, and it was clear that this was a major event, I went and got a camera and began documenting the storm.  I also grabbed my wife's camera and took some video.   We lost lots of shingles and part of our privacy fence, but others lost more, so I grabbed my gear and went out touring our neighborhood shooting pics of trees down all over the place.  No fun. I haven't been able to look at the pics/video yet, but I'll post them as I get them processed. 

It all started around 3:00 and the winds died down to "normal" around 6:00.  They say that 180,000 people lost power in the Dayton DP&L area.  Down in Cincinnati, 680,000 out of a total service area of 800,000 homes and businesses were without power.  Cars driving through on the interstates were stranded because the gas stations didn't have electricity to pump gas.  People were told to conserve water because the electricity to pump water to the towers was out.  Schools were closed, businesses were closed, everything stopped, and we all cleaned up.

We went for days without power and a day or two without phone service.  Many cell phone towers had been damaged, so some providers didn't function.  The food in the fridge and the freezer was spoiled and had to be thrown out.  

We just got our power back last night at 6:15.  We were so happy!   

A few thoughts for next time:

Radio:  The only radio I found that worked on batteries was my daughter's boom box, which took C batteries.  I had exactly 8 C batteries, so we had to conserve radio play so that the batteries didn't run out.  Many of our friends had no radio or no batteries for their radio.  Schools have varying degrees of logic concerning these things, so it's important to know if the kids need to go to school.  The school I teach at was closed Monday, had school (normal time, no delay--even though most districts were closed) on Tuesday, but was then closed on Wednesday.  

Phone: Time Warner Cable went out and is still out.  Those people who use the digital phone service and RoadRunner have no home phone or internet.  Also, many of our friends only have cordless phones, which didn't work.  We had two corded phones which plug directly into the wall jack, which gave us phone access other than our cell phones, some of which which ran out of power.  

Digital Photographer: I was able to take pictures, but my laptop is way too old, so I was pretty much stopped in my tracks as far as downloading or processing images.  I couldn't get to my web site or email.  In the future, I think I'm going to make sure that I have a current laptop with all my primary software loaded and backup batteries, both for travel purposes and for emergencies like this.

Traffic Lights:  Do we need them?  I really think that I spent less time at traffic lights when they were totally dark and everyone treated the light like they were 4 way stops.  It eliminated all the waiting for people who weren't there.  I'd like to see statistics to see if there were more wrecks with the traffic lights working or with them not working.  I bet they were about the same, or possibly less with the traffic lights NOT working.  People had to be more careful, and didn't assume the other guy was stopped.

Oil Lamps:  Fantastic!  We have two oil lamps which became invaluable.  Candles would light up a tiny area and were much more dangerous.  I highly encourage everyone to get oil lamps and extra lamp oil.

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