The great PacNorthwest power outage – a NorEaster’s view…

Here in Vermont, at least in my neck of the woods, power outages are a fact of life and we generally expect them. Whenever the wind starts blowing hard, we fill up the tubs and water jugs. We have a few gas stoves in the house and our cooking stove is gas. Most thankfully, we have this great little generator that can run the whole office (what else do I need?) or if need be the refrigerator and a bunch of lights upstairs. So we are prepared mentally and strategically. One of the reasons for this is that there are poplars everywhere and the come down easily and take the lines down with them. Although the last big wind storm a few weeks ago was taking down big big pines.

There was the big ice storm in 1998, but we didn’t live here then. But I know it was nasty.

Even so, I just still can’t imagine what my friends in the Seattle area are dealing with. They’ve been without power for nearly a week and are still expecting about another week without power. But loss of power seems to be only a small part of what they are going through. So many falling trees, flooding and now the problems related to people trying to find alternative means of heating and lighting their homes such as the carbon monoxide tragedies.

The trees there are taaaaaall. Chris Kinsman told me that a number of houses in his neighborhood were basically split in half by falling trees – not to mention the cars that got smashed.Other friends are holing up at hotels or with good fortune have gotten out of town. I think it was Eliot Graf from the Mobile PC team who told me “it looks like Godzilla’s playground”.

Reading someone’s quote about listening to the trees falling through the night made me remember living in the New York State’s Hudson Valley during what I think is the same storm that became the “big ice storm” in New England. I remember crying as we listened to hundreds of trees in our forest crashing down all night and running out many times during the day and night to unbury the tops of the bent over birch trees so they could try to upright themselves. We were without power for a whole week that time. It took a few summer’s worth of work to cut the trails open again through our woods. (Though it certainly wasn’t me who did that job!)

There was a story this morning on NPR about the woman who died trapped in her basement, making her more than “the woman who died”, which becomes too sad.

The national news is focused on other things (I know I’ve personally been intent on the Mt. Hood climbers), but you can certainly find a big reality check just by going to local sources like the Seattle Times. I’ve perused a bunch of times and haven’t really seen very much there about the impact of the storm.


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3 thoughts on “The great PacNorthwest power outage – a NorEaster’s view…

  1. Yeah, it sucks.Our power finally came on between 2:30 and 3 am this morning.We finally gave up staying in the house and spent the last couple of nights with my parents. We’re lucky: no huge trees in our house or cars, didn’t lose food because we had friends to foster our freezer and fridge contents, didn’t get sick or die because of bringing grills or generators inside the house.We do have water to deal with in the basement, and my partner and I have each caught a 24 hour flu bug during the past several days, but it could be worse.

  2. One reason you didn’t see much on msdn blogs is that it is hard to blog with no power!It was a pain, but for me, it wasn’t as bad as others.We were only out for just over 24 hours (long enough for my kid to set our kitchen garbage can on fire while playing with candles, but not so long that we lost everything in the freezer).The huge pine tree that sits about 25 feet from my front door held up.If it goes, one of the five houses near it will be toast… someday, but not this time.My mother in law lost power for eight days.She’s back online now.Finally.It was really hard getting logs for her wood-burning stove for a while there.No one expected it to be this bad.That’s twice in one year that MS campus has been shut down.Pretty rare.Not the worst storm I’ve been through.I lived in Miami during Hurricane Andrew.But this one still sucked.Time to buy a generator…

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