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Anyone miss me?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by qbee42, Mar 4, 2012.

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  1. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Probably not, although you may have enjoyed my absence.

    The storm that rolled through the country, blasting people with tornadoes, decided to give us some snow. We are accustomed to snow, but this stuff was heavy and wet, with the consistency of wet concrete. Late Friday night, really Saturday morning, the flickering lights gave out completely and the entire county went black. Power in our village was restored after two days and nights, although it's still out in some areas. Major streets are open, but back roads are one lane at best. Many people can't get out, so we have been driving disaster relief with our Jeep.

    I think it's time for a shower, now that I have hot water.

    Tom
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i figured you took the weekend off. hope there weren't many injuries!
  3. airportkid

    airportkid Will Fly For Food

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    I thought you Upper Penisulans shunned hot water as too citified. Refrained from swimming in the Big Lake until the water had cooled to tepid (minimum of 4" of surface ice). Or are you getting too soft to stand hard water? :p
  4. Silver bullit

    Silver bullit Right Lane Cruiser

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    Did you have no furnace for 2 days? I lived in Lansing for 6 yrs and I wouldn't want to be without a furnace at this time of year. Maybe you have some other backup system?
  5. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Sorry to hear about that.

    One year, when I wasn't living in WA, due to a storm, some people didn't have power back for a week. In a recent storm up there, one of my former coworkers was w/o power for at least 3 days.

    Fortunately, he has 2 generators. He's quite the gadget guy and has all sorts of toys.
  6. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    I missed you, but I knew you were safe. :)
  7. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    In three decades here, I've seen about a half dozen weather events knock out power to huge numbers of customers, and some coworkers are blacked out for 3 or 5 or 7 or 8 days. The worst is in a different location each time. Wind is the usual culprit, snow loading of trees before all the leaves fall is also a problem, but this year it was ice.

    The year you mention about power being out a week, is probably the same year I had a brand new officemate arrive from the far coast just as the big storm was coming. The shared housing he was moving in to, lost power in an early ministorm hours before he arrived. It was restored while he was in the office for his first day, then went out in the main storm mid afternoon, and stayed out for a week. It was not a good introduction to WA, and certainly didn't help in his failure to adjust to the area and to the different job culture.

    While I lose power here much less often than where I grew up, when it fails it does so on a much larger scale, taking longer to restore. Many hundreds of crews from other utilities drive in to do the job. One time, Tacoma Power didn't get around to calling for outside help until all the other area utilities had snapped up every available crew in neighboring states and BC. That isn't good for political careers.


    That is what another acquaintance needed. When his generator broke, he took it in for repair and was told it would be ready on day X. Day X arrives with one of the above major storms, knocking out power at his home and all our workplaces. Great, the suddenly needed generator is ready for pickup. Unfortunately, the shop also lost power and closed early. Through the window, he could see his fixed generator against the back wall. So close, yet so far. :mad:
  8. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Wood. We have a Franklin stove that is used as a fireplace. It's not particularly efficient, but with enough fuel you can keep the pipes from freezing. We have city water, so we had water and could use the toilets.

    Tom
  9. Boo

    Boo Boola Boola Member

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    Glad you're OK Tom.

    For power outages, I like to wear flip flops with built-in flashlights. I call these my Hurricane Irene Flip Flops. :)

    [IMGLINK]http://priuschat.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=35462&d=1330961562[/IMGLINK]

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  10. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Tom, do have any advice to pass on about lessons learned for emergency preparedness?
  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    You must get warm weather power outages, not cold winter power outages.
  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    Why didn't he just break the window? The alarm and cameras wouldn't be working. :p
    2 people like this.
  13. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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    i dont get it! is it because your country is so BIG you dont put wire's under the ground or is that not the reason for these power outages!
    i seems to me these outages are more commen then needed.
  14. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Most of the infrastructure in North America is fairly fragile. A single weather event - which you'd think the systems would be designed to handle - can cause widespread chaos surprisingly quickly. Very few people are prepared to live 'off grid' for any length of time.

    Even a small pack with a few essentials can make a big difference to safety and comfort.
  15. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Underground wiring is expensive, and it has its own set of problems. Underground power is common in cities and other high density areas, but not so much in the country. For example, our county has an area of 2,532 square miles, or 6,559 square km, and a total population of 21,119 people. It doesn't make economic sense to bury that much wire for so few people. In addition, much of the land is swamp and forest, making trenching difficult.

    Tom
  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Most wires are above ground for cost reasons. These storm repairs are still much cheaper than burying the lines. The house where I grew up didn't get electricity until 1948, and dad remembers its arrival quite well. If the lines were required to be buried, the house might still be off grid.

    Aggressive tree trimming would reduce the outage rate, but the utilities can't automatically cut trees they don't own.

    Burying the lines doesn't eliminate outages, though it drastically changes their character. Buried lines don't get knocked out by wind and ice, but have more problems with heat dissipation and water, and are more expensive to repair when they do fail.
  17. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    When I lived in rural N.D. I had an L.P. gas parlor heater with a counter-flow blower and a non-electric thermostat. I have no idea how the thermostat worked. It did not have temperature markings, just went from hot to cold, but maintained the temperature relatively constant using some kind of thermocouple. The counter-flow blower helped, but was not necessary. So I had heat when the power failed.

    I had a well and cistern, so no running water without electricity, but I ran a water distiller in winter and stocked up, so I had abundant drinking water. And I had a gas stove.

    So, no showers or washing, but I was warm and had hot food during power failures.

    Now I have a gas central furnace which won't run without electricity. I have a camp stove so I can cook, sort of. But I'll have no water or heat in a power failure. I guess I really need to keep a 5-gallon water can in the house. I have enough food for a few days at any given time. Back in N.D. I probably had a month's supply of food.

    OTOH, back then I was a mile from the nearest neighbor and six miles from the nearest town. Now I am in the city.
  18. Scummer

    Scummer Eh?

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    I've always had the same thought. High voltage lines (400k) for long distance transport I believe is fine for above ground since those masts are designed to withstand some very high winds. But to run the power wires from mast to mast inside a city or town is ridiculous.

    I remember my grandma's house in Germany having their town of 6000 people converted to underground wiring in 1991. There was a big push in getting all the towns converted because the exposed wiring to trees and weather would be eliminated.
    I don't think there are any towns left that run low voltage wiring above ground.
  19. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    In an extended power outage, we'd probably have too much to eat. At least at first. The fridge is usually pretty full, and so is the freezer. Given the choice, we'd have a neighbourhood barbecue instead of letting all that food spoil. BYOF.

    During a recent brief power failure (a car accident brought a pole and some lines down), I had just started to make a cup of coffee. Not to be denied, I took the little headlamp I keep handy in my pack, found my lightweight stove amongst the camping equipment in the basement, and didn't miss a beat. I was almost disappointed when the power came back on so soon. :cool:
  20. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Does Spokane County run any of those 72 hour preparedness messages, encouraging residents to be ready to get by with no utilities or services for at least three days during a major disruption? King and Snohomish (Seattle and northwards, for non-locals) counties do, especially at the start of each winter storm season.

    These small weather events should be used as practice for The Big One. West of the Cascades, we are in essentially the same earthquake zone as Japan, which will very soon mark the first anniversary of the major quake and massive tsunami. While most of our country's population has much less earthquake risk, nearly everyone is exposed to some form of calamity risk that deserves similar preparedness.
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