Monday morning here. It's coming up on eleven a.m. and the outside temperature is up to 29.
The power is on, so other than the fact that we are snowed in solid, life is pretty normal at this point.
Lots of people haven't been so fortunate. I listened to the scanners last night, and I'd say parts of the county are still in bad shape. The Sheriff's Deputies are having to walk in to places like mine, they drive up the secondary roads as far as they can, then they have to hike in the rest of the way. They are doing lots of welfare checks. Some elderly person lives out in the woods, up a "possum trail", and the phones are out, so their grown kids call the Sheriff and ask for a Deputy to go out and check on them.
Last night, one of the Deputies walked in over a mile to a place. When he got there, nobody answered the door. He busted in, and there was a man (65 years old) laying on the floor in the kitchen. He had been laying there for 16 hours, no heat, and in severe pain from cramps. The Deputy called on his hand held radio, and the Fire Department sent two of it's people out in one of those Gator things , the off road vehicle with a little cab, huge tires, and a bed. They had to haul him out to the road.
That's the type of event older people dread out here. If the phones go, how can you call for help? And if you do, can they get in to you? Most of the calls wound up with the older people being home, but no heat, and the Fire Department evaced them and their little dogs to town, where relatives picked them up, or they went to a motel, or to one of the churches. The churches here fill in a lot of the social needs, including opening up and providing cots , heat, food, and sanitary facilities to people who need them when this kind of thing happens.
This is very heavy, wet snow. There are trees down everywhere, and I had some big limbs crashing down right around the house. One I had to pull of the roof of the apartment with a rope. It looks pretty but it's the kiss of death for a county where the power and phone lines are virtually all overheaded. Maybe our EMC could have buried more of the main lines, if they hadn't spent millions on their plush new headquarters, with fine carpets and mahogany furniture.
My generator went down almost immediately. I am pretty sure it was bad fuel. I store a lot of diesel, and I put stabilizers in it, but if you don't use it up, it can still go bad. I think this time around, I tried to squeezer just a little extra time out of it and failed. The moral of the story is to store less fuel, so this doesn't happen again. Typically, 7 or 8 days is about as long as even the worst power failure lasts here, so I really only need to keep that much fuel on hand, plus an expendable reserve.
Losing the generator has more of a psychological effect than anything else. No generator, no satellite television, no internet. That leaves satellite radio, which isn't much good for local events, and the weather radios. Those were all so overwhelmed with static that they were almost useless. The weather radio is broadcast from the top of a mountain up here. When it snows, the repeater fails when the battery goes dead. So then they send it from some place in North Carolina and the signal is so weak it's useless.
We had plenty of water. I keep about 300 gallons stored all the time. So water for cooking ,washing dishes, the bathrooms, and the animals was not a problem. We had plenty of food for everybody. We heat with a propane system that doesn't need electricity, so heating in the main house and the apartment was not an issue. I had to heat the barn and shop with kerosene heaters, but I had 30 gallons of that, enough for more than a week.
Our county has that new system we bought for sending out messages in an emergency, so from time to time we would get one of those, until our cell phones ran out of power. Without the generator, we couldn't recharge them, so no text messages. I need to buy something that stores power and lets you charge your cell phone. Ours are old, they won't recharge off a USB port, they have to have a regular ac plug in. Must be something out there like that.
The radio stations (there are two local ones I can get now) were useless. No information, just their regular program. Not one word of useful information over the whole three days.
Today we are just waiting to see if the back roads, and especially the Jeep trail down the mountain, will melt off enough for us to get out at some point in the near future.
Thought for the Day: