Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Hits PACNW Hard

Been a rough couple of days here in the PACNW. First off, we got slammed with about 10 inches of snow on Wednesday. School and business closings were the norm across the western half of the state. Then it began to rain, very lightly. By Thursday AM, everything was coated with a layer of ice about a half an inch thick. That is when the real fun began. It didn’t take long for the tress and branches to start falling and taking out power lines. Some places looked like a war zone. With the state motto being “The Evergreen State” you can imagine the number of trees that line the roads around here. Some of those trees fell across the highways, causing all kinds of havoc.

We lost power at about 8 AM Thursday AM. In fact, more than 250,000 folks across the area, from Seattle and points north down into Olympia and many of the smaller communities in the region. When I drove home from the class I have been attending the past month, there wasn’t a light on for 20 miles, unless power by a generator. It was eerie driving through my little town and not seeing a light anywhere.

While the power was out, we of course lost heat. The temp inside the house dropped to 51 degrees at the lowest point. We slept in longjohns and sweatpants with tons of covers. Fortunately we did have hot water since we have gas at the house. But because we have a newer stove that automatically shuts off the gas, we had to break out the camp cookstove heat up the meals.

On the positive side, it did my kids away from the gaming systems and Facebook. In fact, since the whole area was without power my boys had no one to Facebook with. So they actually broke out the Lego’s and goofed around with those most of the day on Friday. It was interesting to see my 17- and 15-year old playing with kid’s toys.

About 7 PM this evening the power came back on. The furnace has been working full bore to get the house warmed up again. As I type this at midnight, the temp has reached 62 degrees. Still bundled up in sweatpants and a warm coat. Now we can get some laundry done and the boys can get those Lego’s cleaned up.

We are the lucky ones though. There are still 170,000 folks without power and some of those are not expected to get lights until the middle of next week. This being the PACNW, it is not expected to get much warmer than 45 degrees all next week.

One last thing. Most Americans go out of their way to stop a Vet and thank him or her for their service. And as a Vet, I really do appreciate this. But I would like you all to consider thanking the men and women who respond in emergencies like this and work their butts off trying to get people back on the grid. These folks work very hard, in some very dangerous conditions, to restore power. I don’t think we appreciate this very much. And I just want to say thank you to those men and women and say that I too have not always remembered the efforts they make.

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