Thursday, June 12, 2008

I survived the Bad Storm In Northern New Jersey

Click for slide show of Nutley NJ storm damage
On Tuesday night (June 10) we had an incredible storm here, in the Nutley, NJ area.

My husband was watching the Lakers game, I was on the computer (as usual), and my daughter was in the shower.

Right around half-time, the heatwave we were having ended when a violent storm rolled in, the worst in over 20 years, with heavy rain, hurricane force winds, dangerous lightning, and hail. Some say it was golf ball sized hail, I don't really know. All I know is that it sounded like we were under attack, with 1000's of children throwing rocks at all of our windows. I was so afraid the windows were going to break, especially the two skylights in the hallways.

I was screaming at my daughter to get the hell out of the shower and trying to shut down my pc (that takes forever).

Total time of the storm was around 30 minutes...30 very frightening minutes.

When it was all over, that was when the real fun began...

The power went out, and not just for a few minutes or an hour.

The night wasn't so bad for my husband, who is a day person that sleeps at night. He caught the rest of the Lakers game on a battery operated radio, sitting on the front porch, trying to stay cool, and then went to bed.

But my daughter and I are not day people. We live our lives at night.

With candles on the kitchen table and my husband sound asleep, I attempted to read a book. It wasn't so bad, till my daughter came out with more candles to heat things up, looking for company and wanting to talk. No more reading for me. It's not that I don't appreciate her company, it's just that I was really starting to get into the book.

It was too hot in the house, and too quiet outside for talking. With no fans and air conditioners running, and everyone with their windows open, even a whisper would have been loud enough to disturb our neighbors that were sleeping. So at about 3:30 am we walked to a diner not affected by the power outage, to take advantage of their air conditioning and never ending supply of coffee.

We left the diner when the sun came up, hoping that when we got back home we would have electricity. That was around the time that things really started to cool off with a very pleasant cool breeze.

Sadly, we didn't have power yet. We were left with no electricity for over 24 hours.

When my husband woke up, he made the discovery that he really needs to get a life. He needs a hobby other than TV watching, something that doesn't require electricity. I ended up teaching him how to play Solitaire, just so I could get some sleep.

At least I had many things I could do to keep me busy, such as reading, crocheting, etc. He has no other interests other than watching sports and game shows on TV. I might have to stock up on kids toys, coloring books, and crayons, for next time we have a situation like this.

I sent him out on a mission, to find ice and lamp oil, since the reports on how long it was going to take to restore our power weren't good. They didn't expect to be able to restore our power till some time on Friday, if we were lucky.

I ended up losing all the food in my refrigerator. Stuff in the freezer, although partially thawed, was still ok and not spoiled.

All the stores were sold out of ice, batteries, flashlights, ice chests, and all the other good survival stuff, at least the stores that had power and were open.

My daughter ended up calling a friend in another town to ask him to help us find some ice for the freezer, which thankfully he was able to get for us.

I did manage to make one really great purchase at the supermarket around the corner, that will be useful for many years to come. I picked up 2 flashlights that don't need batteries. They have a crank that you turn, and 3 minutes of cranking gives you around 30 minutes of light.

One of these flashlights can provide enough light with it's powerful LED's, to light an entire room. Maybe not as good as my old battery operated 5 inch flourescent tube light, but these flashlights will more than pay for themselves over time, with the money saved by not having to buy batteries.

The only reason why I was able to get any of these was because they were in a different part of the store that didn't make any sense, far away from the other flashlights. Everything else was sold out, as I mentioned before.

I was sitting on the porch at about 11:30 PM on Wednesday, reading a book with one of the new flashlights, when the power came back on. I could hear the entire block emit a simultanious cheer.

I am really glad we didn't have to wait till Friday to get our power back.

I started up my pc and got my ass online, to let people know I was ok. The last my friends heard from me was a quit message on IRC that said "Bad storm". While I was doing that, my daughter boiled water to cook our half-thawed raviolis. Right after they hit the water, the power went out again, and you could hear the whole neighborhood screaming profanities, or that could have just been my daughter swearing enough for the whole block.

For the next few hours, the power wasn't all that stable, so I decided not to run the computer again till it was.

Now that things seem stable, I can finally make a blog post about my experiences and get some work done, beginning with my inbox jammed with 2 days worth of email.

You know, thinking back to how upset I was a few years ago when they cut down all the really old big trees on my block, to make street repairs, I am now glad they did. The little cherry trees they replaced them with couldn't cause the kind of damage that other streets around here had problems with.

If they hadn't cut those trees down, it all could have been much worse here, with a lot of property damage and potentially deadly, with live wires & such. I never thought I'd live to see the day where I would actually be happy about what they did to our block.

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