Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Hundred Year Storm

I woke again this morning, the distant drone of our neighbor's generator a reminder that opening my eyes to look across the dim room for the clock's red, lighted digits would not be necessary.
The power is still out.
And so Day 3 begins.

I had intended to follow yesterday's post with still more of the sights of Olympic.
But the limited access to both electricity and internet has made sorting and organizing the close to 2000 photos next to impossible.

Sunday's flight home touched down just as the remnants of Hurricane Ike swept through Ohio, leaving the southwestern corner of the state trembling in its aftermath and much of central Ohio in the dark.
I really don't know the extent of the damage, nor the statistics that I'm sure must be broadcast nationally, by now. Without television, we listen only briefly to radio broadcasts listing closings and ever-changing emergency levels. But the governor's in town, and crews have been called in from Texas, Louisiana and the Carolinas for assistance.

We are, as yet, powerless.
Which means the backpacks full of hiking socks, t-shirts, and fleeces wait, patiently for the laundry to begin. Food stores have begun to reopen, as areas reconnect to the grid. But traffic out and about is a snarl--traffic lights out of service and gas stations dark and empty.
We diddle around with what can be done without electric--which, sadly, is not much in the way of cleanup. Fortunately, our house is unharmed. The only structural damage, the loss of the chimney on the garage (a summer kitchen), the tall block stack blown forcefully down and crumbled across the backyard.

Old Oak, May 2007

The 200-year old oak still stands-- my next concern after house, barn and outbuildings. But the small log bench we placed beneath her has been buried under the twisted bough from above. Nearly 2 feet in diameter, sturdy, strong and long, it was torn off by what must have been a fierce wind. I can only imagine the sound of its crushing fall.

Old Oak, September 2008

Days are filled with the ring of chainsaws.
Red cones mark downed wires on almost every roadway.
Food pantries have been opened--with bread and peanut butter, water and ice.

Maybe tomorrow.
Maybe not.

We recharge cell phones and laptops in the few coffeeshops across town, hunkered down in a corner, with everyone else seeking a connection with the rest of the world.
I haven't been able to visit others' blogs or comment in this short visit, but hope to be back in business very soon!
More news here.

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KGMom said...

Your description gives new meaning to "weathering the storm" and being "powerless". Glad all is well, including the majestic tree.

Kyle said...

Sorry to hear you folks up in Ohio were hit so hard as well from icky ol' Ike. It roared through here late Friday night and left plenty of destruction and powerlessness in its path, and we've only recently gotten power and water service back. I had no idea Ike continued it's destructive ways so far north!

Good luck!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a mess to come home to Nina. So sorry to hear that your area is still without electric. I hope your electric is up and running soon. Good luck.

MojoMan said...

Yes, it's good to hear you are all safe and sound!

Times like this make us painfully aware of how helpless we are without our delicate umbilical cords to the grid. It makes me think how pathetic we would be if the cord were cut for long periods of time, say, when the oil starts to run out.

pineyflatwoodsgirl said...

Sorry to hear of your plight, nina.
The panhandle dodged the bullet thankfully. However; a run on the gas stations Friday because of refinery shutdown fears has left the area with almost no gasoline. Maybe Friday we will have full shipments and people won't panic again....Tonight I saw no gas at any stations I could eyeball on my way home. I am being very conservative!

KatDoc said...

Oh, Nina - I thought you were still away. So sorry you had to come back to the chaos which is the Greater Cincinnati area right now.

Let me know if you need anything; I have had power at work and at home both since Sunday night, so call me at the office if I can be of any help.


nina said...

Yep, this was one of those strange happenings due to land form shapes and weather patterns and all that. A nice corridor ushered him right into our area--a rarity, for sure!

We finally got power back on this morning @ 2:30--now the fun begins! Laundry, and cleanup and, oh, a big shopping trip to replenish the just-emptied-in-the-trash contents of fridge and freezer!

As much as I grumble, these times are reminders of how powerless we are in the face of natural events. We can see it comin', but can't do more than pick up after it!

nina said...

Thanks, Kathi, for offer of help.
I'm surprised you had such a short outage, for it being an equally rural area as I'm in.

I canned a bunch of posts before leaving town, and scheduled them to publish while we were away--but getting around to others' blogs was impossible. The National Parks seem to be in places without cell towers, thank goodness!

We came back last week--I've a bunch of catching up to do!

dguzman said...

Take care, Nina!

Kathiesbirds said...

Oh my Nina, I did not know you were hit so hard. All the focus has been on Texas. I'm glad you are safe. We lived thru Gloria which hit New England back in 1985. I had a 3 week old newborn then and no power or water for over a week! You have my empathy as well as my prayers!

KatDoc said...

The whole electric grid system is crazy. On Monday, the intersection where my office is had power on three corners plus the traffic light was working, but the UDF across the street was out for two days.

I was without electricity for 6 hours; my mom got power back on Tuesday, and my sister not until Thursday, and they are much more urban than I am. The pottery studio is still out tonight.

My sister said the reason I had power so quickly was that in the country, they only had to plug in 1 cord to turn all the lights back on!

Luckily, we have had beautiful weather - not too hot, not too cold, no rain - so that we aren't suffering and clean up has not been impeded.

It surely has been an adventure!


Michelle's Rambling Woods said...

People here lost power, but not for does lead to a whole new kind of living. I learned how to use my french press coffee maker or things could have really gotten ugly. Hope things are getting back to normal for you Nina..

Toni said...

Ike wasn't much fun here also. We lucked out and didn't loose power but my Mother did for 3 days.