Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2003 > Big Wind Edition

Big Wind 2003 Edition

It was a slow weekend that promised to end that way. But Sunday was cool, gray and very windy…very, very windy…and on this hangs a tale.

I was on my computer that afternoon playing RtCW. Just when I was about to enter the hangar to capture the experimental rocket plane, poof! The computer went dead. So did everything else. There was no electricity in the house.

The loss of power means no light, no heat (the gas-fired furnace uses electronic ignition), no computers and no TV. The refrigerator is off, too, but the food should be OK for a day or two as long as its doors are shut. There is still water, and the all-gas water heater still works. The phone lines were untouched, so I could still call out, but the answering machine is dead.

I thought that the dead tree on the corner finally went down. No, it was still standing: Its lack of leaves made it easier for the gale to pass through it. It was its leafy still-living twin that the gale tore out by the roots and knocked over onto the street, taking with it the power lines and several lengths of the neighbor's siding.

I called the town hall to report the downed tree. I also tried to notify the neighbors, but nobody was home. (They were out on for a Mother's Day meal.) The fire department came in a few minutes to look over the damage and seal off the area due to the downed power lines. I then called Tina (my sister and landlord) to report the downed tree.

I walked over to the folks' house to find them chopping up a downed tree: the old crabapple tree in the back of the yard. That venerable tree, which had stood for over thirty years, which even withstood having its insides eaten out by ants, was toppled by the gale. How sad! It looked so lovely in the spring.

I learned that the town has been kept busy with removing downed trees and limbs and other debris from the gale. It would be a while before the town would remove my tree.

Madre told me that I needed to call the power company separately to report the downed lines and my loss of power, so I did so. I then went home to feed the cats and myself in the semi-darkness (it was six o'clock in the evening by then). Then I came back to the folks' house, ostensibly to use the computer, but in fact to watch those cable TV channels I can't get on my TV, even with the power on.

I returned home at 9:30, taking a battery-operated clock/alarm for the morning.

The next morning I woke, washed and dressed in the dawn light. I did not fix breakfast because I needed to keep the refrigerator closed. Outside the town finally came to cut up and remove the downed tree. I was told that when the power company comes to put up new wires, it will probably cut down the dead tree, too, since it is leaning dangerously close to the power lines.

Madre called later that morning. The downed tree was gone, and the power company had removed the downed lines in front of the neighbor's house. The utility workers told the neighbors (who told Padre, who told Madre) the lines will not be restored until the dead tree was gone. Not liking the sound of that—it implied I might never get my power back, for I can't afford removing that tree myself right now—I called the power company. I was told: we will not cut down that dead tree since it isn't entangling any power lines, but we will get your power back.

I returned from work to find the power company working on the downed lines. I was told it would be another half hour, so I raked debris from my yard. After I finished, the power came back on at a quarter till seven.

I found most of the food in the refrigerator had gone south, so I ditched it.

I found that the circuit breaker to the living room wouldn't reset. I thought at first that it had gone bad. I soon found that my two APC power strips were burned out by the sudden power outage. They gave their lives to save my computer and television set. I had to get another APC from the folks' house, which powers my Linux computer. Now I have no access to my DSL line until this coming payday, when I can buy a new power strip.

My main computer appears to be OK, though, so I can said I have survived the outage with little trouble.

Copyright 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated on 12 May 2003. Contact me.