All hands man your battlestations

Saturday morning started with light to moderate rain and wind before dawn. Both increased over the next 12-14 hours until dying off around 0200 Sunday morning. I went out around 1300 for a little famous fried chicken from Popeye’s, much to the chagrin of my wife who wanted me to hang out at the house. Damn that was some good chicken and biscuits, she enjoyed them too.

The local conditions were not that bad at the time. A few spots on major roadways with minimal standing water, primarily a hydroplane issue at posted speed limits but not at anything below and definitely no threat of a flooded vehicle or float away. Wind in open roadways was not significant but ‘seemed’ much worse in the neighborhoods and around structures. Minimal debris was present and what was present was finger sized branches and smaller.

After chowing down and deciding to stay in unless an emergency required leaving the house I grabbed a little shut eye in preparation for the potential of power outages and any complicating factor that would come with LE/FIRE/EMS being task saturated over the next few hours to days. As I was dosing off I noticed the lights flickering off and on but no sustained outage. Around 1530 I woke up to a slightly warmer house with no power. After a quick check of the exterior and neighborhood I found the outage was not isolated to our house and no damage had been sustained. Water and sewer services were still intact and cell voice and data were still up.

By this time larger organic debris was coming down with numerous branches in the size range of 4-8″ in diameter coming down. By 1700 a tree with an estimated diameter of 20″ fell into a house down the block causing moderate structural damage. Fire Department was able to respond and perform a basic investigation with no other services rendered on scene, residents made the decision to evacuate and left shortly after the single FD unit cleared up.

As there wasn’t much for us to do we broke out the board games I had picked up a number of years ago for morale preps. I had found these on sale at one of the big box stores and picked them up for pretty cheap. They don’t require batteries and most use large font for easy reading under candle light. We started out playing Sorry, I lost the first round and won the second. Later we would play Scrabble, I lost by just over 40 points. Can’t win’em all…

From Blog album

For dinner we used the grill and a camp stove to prepare a tasty meal of bacon wrapped chicken kabobs, broccoli, and instant mashed potatoes. An excellent meal while we relaxed inside and out of the elements.

Once the sun went down, we had another round of board games and keeping an eye on the goings on around the house. There was functionally no activity in the neighborhood and even with at least two neighbors running generators it was fairly easy hear any ‘unnatural’ noises. With overcast skies and little to no ‘human light’ I was still able to view good detail under NODs without the use of an illuminator.

With security measures in place we settled into our night routine. Around 0330 the power came back on windows were closed up and we returned to using AC and fans to maintain a comfortable temp. I checked the house for any issues with power coming back on line and found none. Kept an eye on other houses for any issues, not knowing if anyone had been cooking or sustained damage during the outage that may result in a fire. Nothing abnormal was observed for remainder of night.

Clean up has commenced throughout the day of debris. The house sustaining the tree fall had the tree removed by dusk today with a surprisingly quick response. The following are some maintains and improves:

Maintain:

-Assessment, plan/schedule, execute

-Stock up and inventory with rational goals

-Board games

-Candles with caution

Improve:

-Do a better job of keeping cell phones plugged in during ‘final hours’. This was a last minute thought.

-Make a sign to remind conservation of hot water. Water heaters are fairly well insulated and will keep water warm weven with power off for some time. I was able to take a quick shower around midnight and still had very hot water available after being nine hours into the outage. That being said, my lovely wife used a good bit of hot water washing dishes forgetting that our water heater was electric and not gas.

-Unplug electronics when power begins to flicker. I managed to kill a router by not unplugging it while power was blinking. Luckily I had a backup to get back online when power returned.

Overall our assessment was fairly accurate and our plan was appropriate. While we could have avoided minimal inconvenience by moving farther west and staying with friends/family/hotel it was completely unnecessary in my mind. The threat was fairly minimal even up to the last reports before we started getting rain. Had we needed to leave we had standard plans in place but this time bugging in was a perfectly functional plan.

All in all a great opportunity to work on preps and doing a run through.

Hopefully this has been helpful to some.

Until next time, stay sharp,

Mike

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