Monday, September 15, 2008

It's an ill wind

... and it blew through Cincinnati yesterday. They tell me it was the "remnants" of Hurricane Ike, but I have to tell you - it scared the pants off me. It was the weirdest storm I have ever seen. Sustained winds in the 50 and 60 mph range (Wind that blows at the same speed as I drive?) with gusts in the 70's. One unofficial spotter reported a gust of 84mph. This is big wind for the midwest. Yet, despite the winds and the storm-tossed skies, not a drop of rain fell. I have never experienced anything like it. And this was after Ike spent its wrath on Galveston, after it dumped 7 inches of rain on Chicago, when it was supposed to be exhausted. I have to tell you; people who choose to stay and ride out a hurricane are certifiable in my opinion.

The aftermath has been challenging, to say the least. Trees and power lines are down everywhere. Electricity is out all over the area. At the height of the blackout, 700,000 Duke Energy customers were affected. Two million homes and business from Columbus to Cincinnati to Louisville are without power, according to the latest radio reports. Some areas are under a "boil water" advisory or are requesting residents conserve water use. The hum of chain saws can be heard around every corner.

The effects are spotty, though. I have seen some areas with only small limbs down

or minor building damage,

and other places with trees on buildings or electric lines. One of my clients today said the transformer blew off the pole by her house. The latest predictions are that some people may not have their power restored until the weekend.

We have electricity on at our office, but the food mart across the road is still dark. I lost my electricity Sunday afternoon and it came back that night, but my mother, in an area with a much larger population, is still blacked out. Food is going to waste in refrigerators and freezers in homes and businesses. People are having a hard time finding gasoline. Those stations with gas have no electricity to pump it; stations with power are running low on fuel.

The biggest hassle, from my point of view, has been the number of traffic signals that are not working. This, too has been hit or miss. The Speedway station has electricity, but the light at the crossroad of a major 4-lane state highway is dark. Then, the next light, at some minor intersection, will be functioning fine. It is rare to find a police officer directing traffic; most of the time the old "4-way stop" rule applies. The majority of drivers are being pretty good about it, but I see one blow through an intersection here and there, and it is the worry that I might meet one of these rude folks that has me on edge.

my view during most of my commute today

I know our troubles are nothing compared to the real tragedies of the world. It is these relatively minor inconveniences that make you appreciate all we have in our lives. Still, the adventure is getting old now, and we would all like to return to normal, please.

If nothing else, God, please turn the power on at my mother's condo. Thank you very much.


Mary said...

Oh, Kathi, I will pray for your Mom's power. Ike got to you and I'm so sorry! But I'm glad your power is on... The days will get better as Duke Energy does their work.

People underestimate the power of hurricanes Cat 1 or 2, and even tropical storms. I've been through a few... The worst in my memory is Floyd in 99. Four nights and five days without power SUCKED. We lost two freezers full of meat and all food. I'll never forget how happy I was to plug in the vacuum cleaner and take a hot shower. I let the sun warm a bucket of water to wash my dirty hair.

Hang in there...


donaldthebirder said...

I don't know why they don't say this was our 1st hurricane in the midwest? Maybe it would cause us to look to global warming?
Remnants of Ike + Cat 1 winds = Hurricane
Look here:
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Lisa said...

AND YOUR SISTER'S POWER IS OUT TOO! *sigh* She takes me for granted, people.

I was driving past the Columbus Developmental Center (MR/DD services - the campus looks like a large park) on the way to work this a.m. and noted how many of their huge trees are down. I guess they were down yesterday too but I was too bleary-eyed to notice. So much for the oak tree as a symbol of strength, hm? Snapped one of them right off in the middle of its 2' trunk.

KatDoc said...

Thanks, Mare for the good thoughts. I was out of power (AND HEAT!) for 3 or 4 days during the snow storm of Dec., 2004, and that was enough of a crisis for me!

Yeah, Donald, when they said we had *hurricane force* winds, I thought, "Then, why isn't this a hurricane?" Maybe because there was no rain?

Oh, Lisa, I never worry about you. You are young, strong, and capable. Besides, I can only worry about one family member at a time. Now that Mom is OK, I will put you at the top of the list. (Of course, if you would have a charged-up cell phone at home, instead of a dead battery phone in your coat pocket at work, I could call you.)