What a freaking calamity that was.
I already had a generator which back-feeds into my home via the garage, plus bread, milk, juice, eggs, chocolate, ice cream, etc… I remember on Saturday thinking ‘it is way too calm out right now.’ It was overcast, but warm and hardly any wind. Then on Sunday afternoon it started to pick up, and it just kept coming.
Irene didn’t really affect us much, the surprise snow storm last October 29th did more damage for us – its the reason I picked up the generator in the first place. Our power went out around 8pm on Sunday, and the Internet remained active until about 11pm.
I’ve never felt/heard/seen wind like that before in my life. The house shook a few times, we didn’t get much rain at all though. The next day I went outside to survey the damage – many large and small branches were torn from the trees in my yard… 5 shutters were ripped off the house… a 2 foot section of aluminum flashing tore off the roof… my barbecue (which fell over on Sunday afternoon/evening, and was moved up close to the house) was again on its side back where it started which I found pretty odd. The little vent for my dryer was torn up… but overall we fared well.
Yesterday I went on a trek to replenish my fuel supply as well as locate a bigger fuel storage container. My generator holds 7.2 gallons of gas, and I get about 2 hours per gallon… I’ve been using 3 separate 2 gallon containers which is fine and dandy, but with a questionable power situation locally I didn’t want to have to worry about not having a bigger amount on hand if I couldn’t get to any stations that were up and running. Pretty much every home center in the area that had power was completely out of anything but the smallest gas cans. I ended up driving out to a Gander Mountain store in Dickson City, PA (just outside of Scranton) and picking up a 12-gallon fuel cell for a motor boat.
While the container cost significantly more than a typical gas can ($120 vs $20-$40), the largest gas can any store carries is around 5 gallons so at 12 gallons I can have significantly more on hand. The other advantage is that it is heavier duty than a normal gas can, has a fuel gauge, a vent, and most importantly a hookup for a fuel line. I still need to scrounge up a siphon pump, right now I start the siphon with a turkey baster to the fuel line… Eventually what I would like to do is hook the fuel cell up to the generator’s petcock so I could feasibly run the machine for up 38 hours before I needed to refill it.
According to O&R, the power in my area should be restored within 10 days, generally they have it up much faster than that… They can’t get it up soon enough for me as spending $50 a day on gasoline is getting expensive pretty damned quick.
Compared to other areas of the east coast hit by this hurricane, we fared very well. I’ve heard reports of beaches and boardwalks completely blown away, entire communities ravaged, fires, floods, etc… I’m sure that like every other disaster we’ve collectively faced – we’ll all pull through, come out no worse for the wear, and get back to arguing over stupid shit in no time.