Well, for the first time in many years my power went out for more than an hour... twice in one night. Sure, my lights flicker off and on from storms and other causes from time to time, but usually my area does not lose power for more than a few seconds, or minutes, at most. In fact, I have never lived in a more energy stable location in my life, and I have lived in many locations in my lifetime. I have lived here, in this apartment longer than I have lived anywhere else and I guess I have been spoiled by the stable power supply. It has been several years since my power went off for more than an hour. Over the years it has but fun to tell everyone that my apartment still had power even when the homes and businesses just up the street did not. This time though, even my power went down for several hours. Even so, I am still one of the lucky ones, my power came back on early this morning. Yesterday the strongest windstorm to hit this region in over a decade blew in and knocked out the power for over a million people and some of those people may have to wait up to a week to get their power back on.
It was interesting, for some reason I figured that I might lose power this time. I took the storm warnings seriously and went to the store to pick up a few additional supplies of canned goods and other items that I might need if I did lose power. That turned out to have been a good idea. Just after I got back from the store, and put things away, I was just about to heat up dinner when I heard a loud, “BOOM!” and seen a flash of blue light, out of the corner of my eye, from the kitchen window. Without a pause, the lights went out. Apparently, a nearby transformer blew. Less than second or two later, the lights came back on, but in less than a second or two more, there was an even louder, and closer, “BOOOOMMMM!!” and a much brighter flash of blue light outside my kitchen window. This time, the power did not even try to come back on. It took a while, but Shadow eventually came out from under the bed.
Fortunately, I already had a fair supply of oil lamps, candles, matches, and a few lighters, that have been collecting dust for decades, and I always have a good supply of batteries for my flashlights and such. I always heat up Shadows soft food meals (two a day), so I took the time to do so by candle this time. I have a candle power pot that worked just fine for this, this was the first time that I actually used it (it was a wedding gift back in 1983). I did not bother to heat my dinner, I just roughed it and ate it cold. I actually do not mind cold, canned, ravioli, which is one of the items I had just bought in case the power went out.
For me, the lights going out was a chance to sit back, strap on my portable CD player, put on my headphones, then slip in a Prince CD (I listened to both disks of a two disk set of some of his better stuff), then read for a while by candlelight (enhanced with a large, bright, flashlight). Since no trees fell on my apartment, it turned out to be a nice, relaxing, night for me.
As I was reading, I could hear a chainsaw working outside. This made me wonder if a tree, or a large branch, had fell on the lines out by the street and caused that first transformer to blow. From the sound of it, the chainsaw was working in about the same location as that first flash and boom. I have not been out to check and have no plans to go anywhere today. After the chainsaws stopped, a little while later, the lights came back on. But, about an hour and a half later, they went out again, and stayed off until about 5:45 AM. I know about what time the power came back on because I had left one hallway light on to let me know when the power came back, but it turns out that I didn’t need that clue. Even from a sound sleep, the clicks and capacitors charging up from all the electronics (clock, caller id, phone, VCR, and such) in my room coming back on, all at once, was enough to wake me up.
Anyway, the winds have calmed down some today. I heard, on the news, the mayor of Seattle call this one of those “Hundred Year Storms.” So, hopefully, the power in my area will be stable again for the next hundred years. Somehow, I am not convinced that this will be the case.
One last sad fact, at least four people died in last night's storm and several homes and cars were damaged from falling trees. Lets hope that no other lives were lost that have yet to be found.