Preparedness for Extreme Weather

| August 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Gerald Greenwood

Only WUSA-TV (channel) broke into regular programming Friday night, June 29, to tell us that a strong storm was approaching. Meteorologist Topper Shutt was tracking it and had visuals on the screen telling viewers when it would hit various communities in its path.

He was stressing the importance of taking action now. What did I do? I took the patio umbrella down and went back inside to watch an international mystery. About 20 minutes later I heard the sound of a freight train coming down the line. Except we don’t live near any tracks.

The wind velocity was impressive moving very large tree branches from side to side. As a recreational sailor I have experienced 50 mph winds which were life-threatening. This was more extreme.

Fierce June 29, 2012 Derecho storm that hit the East Coast.

And thankfully I wasn’t bobbing in the ocean this time. Usually the stronger the winds the more quickly they pass. This seemed to last too long. And then the lights went out. I keep an LED lantern by the bed, so I turned it on. Then we waited for the power to come back on. It didn’t. Finally my wife asked, “Don’t you have a windup radio?” Indeed I did.

Going into the very back of the closet I found it and wound it up. My Freeplay radio informed us that the storm damage was wide spread. My HTs were charged and I did have sufficient AA cells that I could use, but I had no way to recharge my Ni-MH batteries except in the car. My phone was charged. I thought I was prepared, but I ignored one obvious component.

My car had about a 1/4 tank of gas and I knew without power a gas station couldn’t pump gas. We “camped” the next 3 1/2 days. Two weeks prior I had purchased a 9” Ryobi portable 18 volt fan with two batteries. For picnics. It was a game changer at night. This wind event was as close as you can come to a real unanticipated emergency.

We all know the dates for Field Day and the Marine Corps Marathon and we can gear up for those events, have everything by the door, at the ready. But when there is a bolt out of the blue are we ready? I encourage each of you to ask yourself that question and act accordingly. I for one now always have a full tank of gas!

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Category: Emergency Preparedness

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