I was convinced it would rain.
I was convinced that the always wrong weatherman was predicting the worse and that we would end up, as usual, with the complete opposite.
For once, he was right. Almost. He was a little off on the accumulation part. Details, details.
We lucked out with somewhere between 7-9 inches of very heavy and wet snow. It was so heavy it's hard to say how much we really ended up with.
I dread to even think of what more would have done. Those measly inches did enough damage.
It started out so light, I assumed the weatherman's prediction of 1-3 inches was going to hold.
But within about 30 minutes it really picked up steam and in no time we were piling on the inches.
By lunch we easily had 3-4 inches. We have satellite TV and when the dish gets snow covered we lose reception. So I hiked outside to clean it off and became instantly alarmed when all I could hear was popping and cracking in the trees.
Thank goodness my HE was on his way home from work. We also had friends on the way over as they lost power late morning.
HE had picked the wrong back road and had to wind his way around trees that were hanging in the road and even drove over downed power lines (in his defense he didn't see them or realize it until he was already over them). Scary.
Needless to say it just kept coming down and the thumps of limbs and trees hitting the ground, thankfully not in our yard, became an all day event.
While we lost a lot of large limbs, luckily we only lost this one small maple tree in the driveway. Our 42 oaks have withstood Irene and now this. Whew.
In the afternoon I went on a photo taking expedition, with my HE in tow, he didn't want a limb landing on my head when I wasn't paying attention. Here's what I saw…
That's our road. Our neighbors all stayed put, for good reason.
That is not my camera lens, that is actually a lot of bending trees, heavy with snow.
But the view of the main road… wow…
Yes that is a tree blocking the right hand lane, and those branches hanging in the far right distance were actually laying on the wires.
Needless to say, we hightailed it back inside and my friend and I went on a fast-paced cooking frenzy to get one last early afternoon large meal… a big seafood one, on the table.
We finished cooking with one minute to spare, then off went the power! Talk about timing.
We watched out the front window as a crazy person out driving in this went 40 mph out of control down the hill and crashed straight through that tree up there.
Limbs kept coming down.
And as 10pm rolled around, our friends learned they had power so they decided to make the trek home and tried to talk us into going with them. But we decided to stay at home and wait it out.
At 11pm we had to turn our deck into a giant snow pile refrigerator as we had been so long without electricity everything was becoming to warm in the fridge and items in the freezer were defrosting! I did not want to lose all my hard picked berries!
Sunday everything started melting like crazy and we were lucky to see some turkeys in the backyard.
Still without power we made the trek into my HE's work, and picked up a propane camping stove and refilled our water containers that we use for toilet flushing in power outages.
We were thrilled to learn while out gathering supplies that our electricity had been restored.
21 hours without.
That was nothing, we were lucky, so many still do not have it.
While I felt strongly prepared with this storm bearing down on us, it became very apparent quite early that I had overlooked quite a few things. One day without power is not too bad, but when you potentially could face multiple days, in cold weather, it's important to be prepared.
This year has been very hard on our area with heavy, constant rains, freak flooding, and now an early snowstorm. I dread what this winter might bring. Better to be safe than sorry.
Here is what I learned:
- First off, our successes:
- Well prepared with water for flushing and a well-stocked pantry is something we were proud of.
- I always keep us well supplied with an emergency back up of food, drinking water and plenty of 'other water' to be used for flushing, clean up, etc.. I am prepared for the long haul in this department and there were no worries at all about food or drink. It also helps that I can think on the fly and creatively cook anything into a meal.
- Our not-quite failures, but not successes either
- forgot to fill the tub with extra water for flushing. oops. would have been nice since we quickly went through 10 gallons of our 20 gallon stock. A hazard of having a 5 year old that doesn't understand not being able to flush.
- learned, and was greatly disappointed that we had not thought about a 2nd back up for cooking and water heating.
Generally, we always have our very large and ready to use fire pit for those needs. I can cook anything over an open fire and am prepared to do so. But… we were not prepared for heavy falling limbs. Our fire pit has three trees that surround it. It was too dangerous, even the next day to light it. A hazard of living in the woods.
We do not have a grill. Sadly, they rust more than we use them, so we just never replaced our last one.
- We have resolved this now with a portable camping stove ready to go, and propane at the ready. We always have a bottle of propane on hand.
- Lighting! OH my I seemed to have really overlooked this. This was my huge failure. I was really upset with myself about this one.
I have a stock of emergency candles, not regular candles, these are actually slow burning, low wax candles for emergency use. We also have plenty of flashlights.
But wow, we burnt through those candles and my fear of a multi-day outage made me realize that rechargeable batteries are inefficient when you have no way to charge them.
So now I am putting together a new emergency lighting kit that will contain:
- a solar & hand crank powered lantern
- a hand crank powered flashlight
- 2 oil lamps and back up oil
- restock of my emergency candles, and in addition to my stock of wooden matches and small feral rod, I will be adding refillable lighter.
If anyone has any recommendations of solar/hand crank lanterns please comment below. I'd be strongly disappointed to buy one and have it fail the first use.
I'm curious, how prepared are you for an emergency or extended power outage?
What's in your emergency prepard-ness kit?