Sunday, July 8, 2012


Last weekend, we were hit by a derecho. "A what?" you say. I had never heard that word until last week either. Basically a derecho is a wide-spread, fast moving wind storm. You can read all about them here on Wikipedia (because we all know Wikipedia is the authoritative source on everything!). And man! What a wind storm. I grew up on the Canadian Prairies and thought I knew what wind was. I have never seen wind like that before. On Friday, Husband and I were in our living room watching a movie when it sounded like it was raining hard outside. When we looked out, however, we were surprised to see that what we thought was the sound of heavy rain was actually wind: really, really strong wind. According to the news, the wind got up to 75 miles per hour (120 km/hr). Within minutes of the wind starting, our lights began to flicker. After a few minutes of flickering, the lights went out. Grabbing flashlights and our rechargeable battery-operated lantern, we waited for the lights to come back on. We had a long wait, as our power did not come back on until mid-afternoon on Monday! We were among the 2.5 million people who lost power. Some people were without power for an entire week. Thankfully, we have friends who did not lose power, so we moved into their house for a few days. For those of you who didn't hear about the storm, it has its own wikipedia entry. You can find it here.

Husband and I have been discussing whether or not we would have be able to tough it out if our friends didn't have power and we would have had to stay at our place. I think we would have been just fine. For the most part, we were pretty prepared. Our lantern gives off a lot of light and we can recharge it in the car, so we would have been good for light. We had food that didn't have to be cooked, although the thought of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for days on end wasn't too appealing. I am sure I could have come up with some great meals to supplement peanut butter and jelly! Had I known how long the power would be out, I would have tried to get ice as soon as possible so we could have lived out of a cooler for awhile. By Saturday afternoon, there was no ice to be found in our city. We have decided that the thing that would have done us in would have been the heat. It was over 100*F (38*C) all week. It didn't cool down at night very much. We would have been toasty for sure. I think it might be wise to add a battery operated fan to our household items.

A couple people have asked me for advice on how to prepare for an emergency. I don't know why they've asked me. I guess it because we just went through one. I recommend getting a lantern that runs on batteries (and having lots of batteries on hand) or getting a rechargeable one and make sure it has a car adapter. We have this lantern and we love it! We bought it specifically because it can be charged in the car. Make sure flashlights, lanterns and batteries are easily accessible. For those of you who have the room, it might be wise to store a bag of ice in your freezer in case you have to live out of a cooler for a few days. Oh, and make sure you have cash on hand. Even though some stores didn't have power, they were still open. No power meant that the credit card machines didn't work.

This is the top third of a tree that crashed down in our friends' front yard. Thankfully it didn't hit the house!

An uprooted tree lays on a power line. This was a common sight in the days after the storm.

Our beds for a few days! Thank goodness for blow up mattresses and sleeping pads.

Husband with Lauren and Katie, our friends with power!

After consulting many websites to determine what was still safe , here is what remained of our fridge contents. After reevaluating, I tossed the butter and margarine also. Even though websites said they were safe, I wasn't taking any chances. We lost a few things from our freezer: ice cream, popsicles, frozen pizza, 18 cups of shredded cheeses (10 of which I had JUST shredded hours before the storm hit). We were able to transfer the rest to a freezer so we still have our meat.

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