You may not have noticed my absence, but the electricity went out at 8:00 pm on Thursday, and came back today almost exactly 48 hours later. Buffalo looks like it was hit by a hurricane. Three hundred thousand customers of two electric companies and one water supplier were without electricity/heat/cable/internet/TV and possibly water, cooking facility, and telephone.
I should be sure to specify that not everyone has electricity back yet. Not even half. I am astounded that ours was so quick. From everything they've said, I was preparing for a week of it.
So what happened? Why such a major failure?
It's October, that's what. Notice in the picture that the trees are green! Fully leaved! The leaves had just started to turn! Snow had been predicted - that isn't *that* unusual (although we seldom get any before Halloween). The problem was that it came and then stayed instead of moving on and spreading the 'wealth' over several counties. It all got dumped right here. On trees with all of their leaves. Heavy, wet snow, because it never did even get down to freezing. That is a whole lot more weight than you might think.
At first it was pretty:
And it was never actually cold:
But the next morning:
Same street, and my car
Most of the damaged trees broke from the weight:
But many were downed by lightening:
Lightening? With snow? You bet. Thunder and lightening most of Thursday afternoon and then all night, frequently striking very close.
Obviously, the lines are down all over. This is the middle of a main thoroughfare:
But we had a line down around the corner to the east and another around the corner to the north. Don't ask me why, I just never thought to get pictures of them. We got the pictures today - driving was forbidden until midnight last night. No one had work yesterday except 'essential personnel'.
We were among the few with hot water, thanks to our new tankless hot water heater which has a battery start. To make up for that, we were without telephone, because we have Vonage which is on the broadband cable. We also have a gas stove, so were able to use that for a little heat, which was balanced by the fact that the only heat was in the kitchen, where it warmed the refrigerator faster.
I *did* forbid opening the fridge. In the early hours of Friday morning, while it was coldest, I took out two gallons of milk, which people did not drink fast enough. Only one was gone by the time it was spoiled this morning. I spent all morning packing the rest of the milk (four more gallons) in ice, filling the backroom freezer half full of ice and packing into it everything that was still frozen from the freezer. Then I spent the rest of the daylight hours going shopping. 'D' batteries required three stores before we found them. K-Mart had just had a truck come in to supply it from an unaffected store. So we did Dibble hardware, K-Mart, Tops and finally Wegmans because I was determined to have cream on my blueberry pandowdy, which I was determined to make to rescue the thawed blueberries. I'd forgotten I wouldn't be able to use an electric beater. It was awful. Both the cake part and the blueberry part. By the time I fixed that and Ravioli for dinner, it was dark, and we headed for bed. As I was brushing my teeth, the electricity came on.
So. I've read to Raederle a lot, from Joan Grant's Far Memory; we played a lot of Mancala; we moved her computer to a more private place.
I should mention that about 500 bucket trucks came to our aid from the south - Pennsylvania and North Carolina are two places I heard. People on the highways said there were caravans of them. Since we had only about 200 called in locally, this input has obviously made a difference.
The thing is folks, this is another consequence of global warming. No, we're not in the same state as New Orleans; this is just a mild sample. But it does demonstrate that NO ONE IS SAFE. It can get you anywhere in the world. And will.