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another week and STILL having bad weather?

The latest is BECAUSE we didn't have a lot of snow this winter is why the weather is off now? WHAT!



I agree! Yesterday, the temperatures hit 96 degrees. Today, we were in the low eighties. Wishy-washy weather!

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We were lucky. Had some house damage and went without power from Friday night into wee hours of Sunday. There are plenty of folks in the area went almost a week and still many in the state continue without.


Thank Heaven for our preps, including the battery powered fan I tucked away a couple years ago prompted my a discussion on Mrs. S! I have since added two more :) and the house damage has been repaired.


With heat indices over 100, we stayed pretty comfortable by opening up all windows early in the morning to let in the relatively cooler air. As soon as it began to warm up outside, we closed up the house, pulled down the blinds, and closed drapes to keep the heat out. Using the battery fan circulated the indoor air. Even one small fan makes a huge difference!

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Cricket, I think the fans would make all the difference to me too. I have a couple of the battery operated ones but I need a solar operated battery charger to keep them running.


I even bought some of those cheap hand held folding Japanese type fans. I can generate quite a breeze for myself with them. Or I could use one on someone if they were sick and needed cooled down.


They were cheap and I have some in the car and one in my purse and all over the house for when I get...power surges.



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Found this story about surviving the derecho.





Surviving the Derecho 80


By cakeinthemorn


A Derecho? What is That?


Derecho. It sounds like the name of a very suave Latino dance instructor who walks into the room, sweeps you off your feet, and gives you a salsa lesson not to be forgotten. Unfortunately, this Derecho was not of any ethnic decent and, while fast and furious, left me with two left feet and a night I won't forget. What is a Derecho? In my own layman's terms, it is a weather phenomenon caused by a wall of thunderstorms stretching for miles and miles with wind that, instead of just blowing and moving on, circles back on itself, giving the wind an exponential punch! And what a punch my little house endured.


Recording Breaking Heat, Tony Horton, Etsy Orders, Oh My!


It was a really hot Friday with all time record heat. My husband was a week into his first year as a third year medical student, which had him out of the house by 5am and home by 8pm. His hours were surprisingly good all things considered. He got to see our 6 year old and 5 year old each night as they went to bed, though it was tough that he hadn't seen our 2 year old or 11 month old since Sunday. He wasn't going to see them anytime soon, either, because tonight was his first night on overnight call at the hospital. I kissed him and sent him on his way, ready to take on the heat of the day.


The day came and it went, filled with movies, board games, books, and a bit of time in the blow up pool before we were all too sweltering and ran back inside. Everyone was tucked into bed, the dishes were done, and I headed down to the bottom floor to squeeze in a quick P90X workout before working on a couple orders for my Etsy store.


As always, the lure of the computer was too much as I passed it on my way to get my butt kicked by Tony, who reminds me every week in my exercise video (Can I say that? My exercise DVD? That sounds so weird...) to do my best and forget the rest. But first! Facebook. Tony can wait a couple minutes.


I am very fortunate to have a wonderful Facebook friend with whom I attended college and Air Force ROTC. He is now a fabulous meteorologist and is always quick to share his predictions as his status update. This time, it was a radar picture of a long line of storms just west of us 95 corridor states with a note that the storms were headed this way.


Thunderstorms? No biggie. I grew up on the South Carolina coast, lovingly referred to as the Lowcountry, known for its summer heat and daily afternoon thunderstorms. Bring it, line of storms that looks like a hurricane band. You've got nothing on Hurricane Hugo, Mr. Derecho! Now tornadoes would be a different thing. Rational or not, I have a huge fear of tornadoes which is a very boring story for a different time. But there was nothing to worry--there were no tornadoes in site.


Truth be told, though, I expected our power to go out, which isn't saying much really. If you whisper too loudly, the power goes out. Sneeze? No power. Where we live in the metro DC area, just outside the beltway, the infrastructure is so old and outdated it can hardly support its demand on a clear, weather free day. My personal opinion, the problem would be fixed if Pepco (did I just name drop? Yup, I did. Sorry guys!) took the time and money to run the power lines underground. Might it cost a lot of money? Sure. But not as much money as contracting power companies from as far as Florida, Oklahoma, and Canada to come and fix the aftermath. Sheesh, you guys.


Back to Tony. Or my friend. Yes--the picture of the storms. Power going out. Okay I am back. So, I took a quick minute to go into the garage and found the awesome lantern we use every time the power goes out. Hang this sucker on a hook in the ceiling (or the glass light cover on the fan in the room) and you've got yourself a bit of mood lighting.


I also grabbed my cell phone and charger and plugged those in, just in case. For anyone who knows me, this is an accomplishment in and of itself. Truth be told, I don't like cell phones and hardly use my ancient one when it IS charged. Did I get the old rotary phone? Nope. Did I find matches and candles? Nope. Emergency radio? Take a guess. Your are right. No. But I DID think about the firefly we caught the day before that needed to be released. Can we say adult ADHD here?


With the firefly freed, I spent the next hour jumping and squatting and leaping all over. I got some water, turned on Shark Tank, and got working on my Etsy order for the evening. About 45 minutes later as I was adding some finishing touches, there was the sound of a distant rumble. I totally forgot about the storm--I was so caught up with beer flavored ice cream and travel dog food packaging (thank you DVR) that thunderstorms were the last thing on my mind. And the thunder rumbled.


Derecho?! You mean The Nothing!


I trotted down the hall and out the front door to take a look at this Derecho. What I saw was the craziest, most surreal wall of clouds, all lit with horizontal lighting strikes, rolling towards our house. I also saw that I left the garbage can at the end of the driveway. Really?! Ugh--I have got to get used to this husband not being home thing and take on the role of garbage can putter awayer. Seriously. Nerve wracked, I ran to the end of the driveway, grabbed the can, wheeled it back and stood back under the safety of my porch awning. It was late and was supposed to be dark--close to 10:30pm, but the there was so much lighting that outside looked like day with small time lapses of darkness.


And the clouds. Derecho? You mean The Nothing, sweeping in to our neighborhood, engulfing the sky and everything around it, swallowing it into an deep pit if Armageddon doom. I kid you not, the sky looked like it was engulfing anything in its path, rolling over itself, barreling over everything. And it was coming this way.


Petrified, I ran in the house to the all knowing computer to learn if a tornado was involved in this Nothing, this Derecho that would be on top of us any minute. Up the stairs. Lightening. Sit in the chair. BOOM. Wiggle the mouse, type the weather site address. BANG POP! Darkness. Pitch black and the sound of silence punctuated by lighting flashes and reverberating thunder. I took a breath. I knew this was going to happen, no big deal, just....go get the lantern downstairs and call the hubbie to see if he can check the latest tornado threat. Great plan. Okay. Here I go.


Inside the Derecho


Here began the longest 3 minutes of my life.


It was DARK. We have a lot of windows on the second floor, so the lightening flashes helped me find the stairs, but once on the stairs and down in the lower level, there was nothing but darkness. And lots of thunder. I felt my way down the hallway, careful for the blow up pool turned on its side to dry, into where I was working on my Etsy order, being careful for the scissors I knew I left on the floor. I couldn't see a thing. And the darn lantern wasn't where I left it.


Come on, come on, come on. Where IS it? I was on my hands and knees feeling everywhere, the seconds ticking. I was running out of time to call my husband and needed to get a light so I could safely get all 4 kids down two flights of stairs without putting them in a panic.


I couldn't find it. How was this possible? Back on my feet, I felt my way back down the hallway past the lopsided pool, which was now leaning diagonal across the hallway. Up the stairs. BOOM! Into the kitchen and to the drawer where we keep matches. FLASH, CRACK, BANG. The new plan? I would light a match and that would be enough light for me to find the lantern.


Legs wobbly, either from nerves or Tony's hour of torture, or both, I started back down the stairs in the pitch black. My knees were giving out and I hugged the right side of the stairs where there was no railing because I thought I was passing the pool. On the stairs. Because that is where I thought the pool was. Sigh. Needless to say, I was beginning to panic.


Down the stairs, through the hall, back into the craft room. The patter of hail and wind howling was loud and terrifying. I opened the matchbox, pulled out a match, and dragged it across the outside of the box. The match lit, then in an instant was dim and then gone. I tried again. The match wouldn't glow long enough for me to see anything. In the brief second the match was lit, the lantern was no where to be seen. You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.


Back up stairs, lighting flashing, thunder shaking, wind roaring, hail pelting, I ran past the computer and across the living room to a hanging votive which had a candle in it. In the dark, I reached up and fumbled with the little latch on the glass door which held the candle captive. I finagled it open, snatched the candle, took it back across the living room and over to the kitchen where I could safely give it the spark it needed to bring me some much desired light.


My hands trembling, I fumbled the box and dropped several matches. The next match broke as it was striking the box. Finally the candle was lit and I carefully and slowly walked down the stairs, through the hall, and back to where I was sure I left the lantern.


It wasn't there.


Panic is a wonderful thing. It pumps your adrenaline, gives you super match breaking strength, gives you tunnel vision, and makes you stupid. I gave up on the lantern, resolved to find my phone and call my husband. Carrying the candle, I walked back passed the wretched pool in the hallway and this time, the lantern caught my eye. It was next to the front door at the foot of the stairs. You know. Because that was obviously the most clever place to put a lantern. Oh good grief.


Lantern in hand, panic began to ease while the storm raged outside. I got to my cell phone and dialed Hubbie's cell number while looking outside to determine what I should do. The wind whipped across the trees and toppled garbage cans and recycling bins. Pick up, pick up. Branches snapped from trees. Come on, Husband, please pick up the phone. Lighting flashed horizontally across the sky.


"Hey! What's up!"


Panic faded.


"Hi! Oh my gosh, you are there! Okay, okay. There is a huge storm outside and the power went out. It is really crazy and I need to know if there are tornadoes. Can you check please?


"Sure! A buddy just got a text from his wife saying they were out of power too. Hang on."


Smart phones are awesome. Did I just say that? No one heard me say that... Within a few seconds, Hubbie could tell me the weather statements mentioned nothing of tornadoes, just severe thunderstorms with damaging wind and hail and to stay away from windows. Okay. I could do that. No tornadoes? Now I could relax a bit.


Admiring From A Distance


The derecho crept across the sky. Lantern still in hand, I chatted to Hubbie a little bit longer before heading upstairs to check on kids, grab the rotary phone, and settle in near the awning covered window to watch the storm from afar. The lighting was persistent, one flash on top of another, strike after strike across the sky. The clouds rolled, the thunder crashed, and the rain blew. Alas, no luck dragon flew across the sky with Bastian ready to save the day. But slowly the storm dissipated and the house grew truly silent and still.


The Aftermath


Mood lighting hanging from the ceiling fan, I sat in bed finishing a sewing project and then reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter before falling asleep sideways across the bed. It was getting warm upstairs. I had already spied my neighbor packing up and heading out after the storm passed, I assumed to a hotel where it was cool. Usually white noise lures me to sleep, but tonight there was silence. Tossing and turning, I never reached a deep sleep and was awakened in the morning by my 5 year old proclaiming that the "electricity had run out".


The house remained warm most of the day. The rotary phone didn't have a dial tone anymore, so all I had was my charged cell phone. While the kids played with battery operated trains, music tables, and other modern day wonders. My mind swarm with movie and book ideas, none with any true ingenuity, revolving around Jericho themes of a slow decline into basic needs mode, batteries slowly dying with no more to be acquired rendering these toys useless, of people beginning to panic and raiding stores, of water becoming non-potable and strangers discovering our in home water treatment system and it becoming a highly demanded resource.


Hubbie got home later than expected, but received a very welcoming reception when he opened the door. The kids excitedly relayed their version of waking up to the power outage and what their plans were for the rest of the day. A neighbor came over and passed along her knowledge about a water restriction in the area until power is restored and estimates of 7 days without power. Looking around outside, it was evident that most people were heading out to find a cool refuge.


The heat wave persisted and the house grew warmer. My thoughts turned to our food situation, specifically to feeding my highly allergic son who lives on fresh produce and dairy. A few quick phone calls later, we found ourselves packing up and joining the mass exodus. Thankfully we had a family member within an hours drive who had power and was out of the for the week. Others decided to stick around and wait it out, either by choice or necessity.


We packed our perishables, some clothes and diapers, epi pens, and made our journey to our new home away from home. Traffic lights were out at every intersection, some cars making it a four way stop and others blowing right through. Dozens and dozens of cars waited in line at the few gas stations able to pump gas. Debris covered the roadways and downed power lines were a dime a dozen. What happened here?


I will tell you.


A derecho.


Lessons Learned


The end of the story is still being written. I write this from the couch of my sister-in-law's home while she is visiting extended family out west. Power was out for 100 hours. The landline telephones were down for 3 days, 911 was down for two, and the water restrictions lasted upwards of a week. Some counties are asking its' residents to boil their water before drinking it. The whole metro area is in a state of emergency and utility trucks are coming from states away to help mend the carnage of the Derecho.


There are some lessons to be learned from this whole experience:


- Put the lantern in a known spot and keep it there so it is never the victim of a random act of cleverness. Put the rotary phone, hand crank radio, matches and candles there too.


- Panic creates stupidity. Relax, take a breath, and make a focused, sound decision instead of acting on a whim.


- As awesome as your husband may be, skip calling him until you get the kids downstairs. Tornado or not, play it safe when the Nothing is rolling over your town.


- A smart phone would have been ultra handy, dare I say wonderful. Between a flashlight app and access to weather statements without relying on a desktop computer, most of my self induced stress, well, wouldn't have been induced! But I didn't say that.


- Pepco needs to figure it out. Bury those lines! Get the fancy shoot-'em-under machines and run those wires underground.


- The Neverending Story is an awesome movie and even better book, but I never want to experience it in real life again.


In truth, my story is really a tale of a mom who freaked out for ultimately no reason and suffered no real consequences. There are others who have tragic stories of loss, property damage, health issues, and are still suffering in the heat. My heart goes out to them and I wish everyone peace with the destruction the Derecho left behind.




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Michelle Taylor 9 days ago Wow, it is incredible the destructive power Nature holds. I have spent most of the day looking at photos of the destruction from the Derecho and the fires in Colorado and I am thankful I'm not near either. I wish the best for your and your family and hope things get restored soon.


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cakeinthemorn 9 days ago Michelle, it is incredible, isn't it? So many trees are down and so many people are still without power. It is really a madhouse around here with people trying to find ice and a place to cool off. Hopefully the estimates for a week long outage are very conservative and everything will be restored sooner than estimated.


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Mary 9 days ago Yay! Props to Josh for telling facebook before the news picked it up. We just caught the tail end of it here in Pittsburgh. South and East of the city still have some rural areas without power.


cakeinthemorn 9 days ago Glad you are with power, Mary! Yes, Josh saved the day--if I didn't see his post, I would have had no idea a storm was coming.


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