Sunday, January 01, 2006

Don't You Hate It...

when the power goes out?

For those from outside Humboldt County, we had a big storm come through here yesterday. Winds up to 85mph, the newspaper says. Another one's coming through right now but it's not expected to be as bad. Still, from what it looks like, it almost seems like the way yesterday's storm started out.

We lost our power around 9:30am, after a few false alarms. I can tell when we might have power problems cause some of the electrical devices in the house make noises. Luckily, I have Uninteruptible Power Sources on both computers so was able to shut everything down after we lost power. For those that don't have UPS, I highly recommend them. They're not very expensive; the smaller one I use with the e-machines computer was around $89.The one I use on this machine was something like $129.

The size you want depends on how much power your computer and monitor uses and the UPS gives you up to a half hour, depending on your power draw and the size of the UPS, to finish whatever you're doing. It's probably best to just save whatever you're working on and shut down the system, as there's no way of knowing just how long the UPS will keep you going or when the power will come back on. I know a local businessman who thought his UPS could keep him going just like the power was on. Some years ago the power went out and he just kept on with what he was doing. The UPS dried up, computer died, and he lost all kinds of data that cost him thousands to get back.

So, when I heard the UPS beeping, alerting me to the power having gone out, I shut this machine down. What the heck do you do next? You never realize how dependent you are on electricity until you lose it. It drives me nuts not having electricity even for a little while and yesterday the power was off here for around 15 hours, coming back on around midnight.

I ended up doing some reading. First, since we didn't have lights to read by, I cleaned the windows in the living room to allow more light to come in. Yes, I think it helped. Then I found an issue of Liberty magazine I'd had yet to read. Browsed through Liberty and then grabbed a couple books on writing I'd been meaning to dust off and read.

I'd bought Elements of Style years ago and just browsed through it. Seemed a bit dry to me as I wasn't doing much, if any, writing at the time. This time I tried to actually get something out of it and, while I didn't read the whole book, found some aspects of my writing that need work. Next was On Writing Well. Only got to Chapter 3 in that one. Just as well as the way it looks right now, we might well lose power again and I'll have that book to read.
We're not all that well equipped for these sort of emergencies, but we have a few things on hand. We have enough batteries to run the radio and flashlights for a couple days, plus a few large candles. The stove and water heater run on natural gas so hot meals and showers are covered. One problem would be heating. Good thing this storm is relatively warm. We have a forced air gas heater. The heater would work but the electric blower that forces the air into the house wouldn't.

We also have an assortment of canned food in the garage so we could mix something up to eat for at least a few days. Didn't want to go there, yesterday, so went on a foraging trip for lunch and found Taco Bell open and brought home burritos for lunch. We had some ribs for dinner, cooked in the gas oven. A bit of a drag eating by candlelight, though, as you can't really see what you're doing, especially with a messy food like ribs.

One thing we dropped the ball on is water. We need to have some water stored although that's probably not a life threatening issue in a major rainstorm. I used to keep some water stored in containers for emergencies but I'd been told if you don't refresh the water regularly it gets "flat", or it ends up with mildew and fungus in it unless you mix bleach with it. I gave up trying to keep track of refreshing the water supplies and decided to look into buying one or two of those five gallon water jugs that Crystal Springs sells. Still haven't gotten around to looking into that.

Another thing I need to do is buy a watch. I stopped wearing watches years ago, not being the kind of guy that likes jewelry, or anything else, attached to my body. But not knowing the time was unsettling to me. Turned out the wife had a battery powered clock in her sewing room and I suppose I could have always gone out to the truck and checked the clock radio. Still, I need to buy a watch, instead of having to go look to find out what time it is.You might ask why I didn't just listen to the radio to get the time. I did. The stations I listen to, especially KXGO, rarely mention the time.
Along that line, my only complaint over this storm was the local radio stations. I had a hard time finding any stations with news updates. Found one earlier on that had storm news but forgot to make note of which one it was, then I couldn't seem to find it again. Surfing the radio channels it seemed like most of the stations were doing business as usual, playing music. KXGO, in particular, didn't give any storm updates, at least while I was listening. What a pathetic bunch of stations. We found one later that had occasional updates but it seemed like some canned, recorded thing that kept giving the same info.

I don't expect every station to drop everything and focus on the storm for the entire day but they could at least give a situation report every hour or so. I guess that would be too much work?


At 9:21 AM, Blogger Nick Bravo said...

Last night on Coast To Coast Am they did a prediction show an done of them was that an eartquake of 8.9 would hit that part of california between may and october.
The cause for the storm is global warming, even in nebraska there's a noticeable diff from 6 years ago.
Buhne has pics on his blog but I'm wondering how the plaza fared.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KHUM was great all day long. They had regular updates from all kinds of people -- Caltrans, PG&E, the county, the weather service, etc., etc.

-- Hank Sims

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Fred said...

No, Nick. It's caused by weather, not global warming.

Thanks, Hank. I knew there had to be someone covering the storm but I couldn't find them. Normally, I would of gone online and looked for a news channel thru but, power was off so I couldn't get online. :-x

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what, I remember the storms we had 26 years ago, and while they where more powerful then these, I never heard the words "Global Warming" used about them.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Nick Bravo said...

so you don't believe in climate change?

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Yes. Climate and the weather does change, in both the short term and long term. Whether it is man caused is doubtful, imo. The warming trend some think we're going through right now is most likely caused by solar activity.

Some think we're actually moving towards another ice age. Back in the '60s and '70s the hue and cry in the media was global cooling. Some are raising that issue again:

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In causing this little storm? Nope.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Another piece on global warming or cooling by Charlie Reese:

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Fred said...

If you're interested in a blogger that believes in global warming and believes it's caused by human action, try Bill Kowinski's (sic?) Dreaming Up Daily blog. He's from Arcata.

Not really his main subject but he brings it up often enough. He attributes just about everything to global warming.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

I really miss those power outages. We only learned of them by turning on KIEM TV as living off grid is the best way to enjoy Humboldt County. We have short outages occasionally here, usually caused by ice storms in winter but have backed up our grid connection with a welder. Enjoy!

At 11:49 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

For a really great "climate change" piece, go to:


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