Do You Want Drought or Floods?
Those are the Only Choices These Days
Last night, we had our third violent storm in a month.
The first was a derecho in June with hurricane force winds. Lots of people lost power in our city of roughly 260,000 people. We were experiencing a brutal heat wave at the same time. This was in June not August. Those without power waited four days in the sizzling heat to turn their air conditioners back on. We were lucky.
We didn’t lose power nor were any trees in our yard uprooted.
Yesterday, we were hit again by two storms within a 24-hour period, both sporting super strong winds and torrential rains. In between the June storm and the two recent storms, not a drop of rain. Everything was bone dry and turning brown. We needed rain.
We got rain.
Yesterday, the first storm dumped over 7 inches of rain on the city. Over 12,000 people lost power. Sump pumps weren’t working in basements and flash flood warnings were issued.
Once again, we didn’t lose power.
Later that evening, another powerful cell worked its way through the region. A tree limb hit our roof but without any damages. The yard is a mess and much of my garden has been battered but we’re the lucky ones. We still have power. Many don’t.
Today, I received the following message from our power company:
As of 10 a.m., I&M has restored power to about 25% of the 19,400 customers who lost service. About 14,500 customers remain without power due to the storms — most of those customers are in the hard-hit Fort Wayne area. Winds of up to 70 mph in the Fort Wayne area caused trees and limbs to fall — damaging power lines and poles. Also, torrential rains unleashed 5 to 9 inches of rain in 24 hours, resulting in flooding and standing water. More severe weather is expected today.
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon preparing for possible power outages. I charged my power station to 96%. It’s still sitting on the dining room table until this weekend when the threat of more storms is finally gone.
It’s menacingly humid, and we could still get more rain over the next few days.
My chargeable fan is ready. My gas inverter generator is full of gas. Most of my lamps have battery charged light bulbs which will work for four to six hours after the power goes out and then I can recharge them with my power station.
At times like these, I go through everything in my mind, a virtual checklist of preparedness.
There’s plenty of food in the pantries and chest freezer. If power goes out, I know to cover my chest freezer with a heavy blanket. If it doesn’t come on within six hours or so, I will plug it into my power station which should keep it running for 15 hours plus. If the outage lasts longer than that, then I’ll charge my power station with my gas inverter generator.
Luckily my power station can recharge in about 90 minutes.
I can run my fridge on the power station as well. Or I can move all my food in the freezer into my chest freezer. A chest freezer that’s packed with food is better at keeping cold. I have plenty of flashlights. I’ve got a five-gallon jug filled with fresh water. My chargeable fan is the best I’ve found so far. My husband has one as well. They come with a bright light and various settings. The charge will last for about 15 hours, too, if I run it on low or medium.
Since our weather has turned extremely hot and humid, we plan to sit in our small guest bedroom in front of our individual fans and read or listen to music on my iPhone during a power outage. I can charge our phones and laptop on the power station as well. We picked that room for our “relaxing room” because directly outside the one window is a huge shade tree.
It’s bound to be a few degrees cooler.
I have a natural gas stove in the kitchen so I can cook. I can’t use the oven, but I can prepare food on the stovetop burners. I also have instant coffees stored in the pantry, so we won’t waste energy on brewing coffee. In the closet, we keep emergency food that can be easily prepared. It has a shelf life of 25 years. We also have a small propane cookstove that we can use outside on the patio if weather permits.
I’ve surprised my husband with my dedication to preparedness.
I started this project in 2020 just after the pandemic hit. That’s when I bought my little chest freezer. I vowed that I’d never run low on food again. Eating out soon began to feel like a total waste of money. A lot of things that we were accustomed to doing seemed frivolous. We realized that we’d grown complacent about our own well-being.
Food, water, and shelter are more important than many of the extras in life that Americans spend their money on.
I’m still working toward getting things organized. This year for the first time, we’ve been warned that we might experience rolling blackouts due to aging electric grids and higher usage of electricity overall. Our weather forecasts seem to fall into two categories these days.
Do you want drought or floods?
I feel smart, even proactive. I still want to invest in a few solar panels to supply energy to my power station. I’d also like to invest in a larger power station to run my gas furnace if I lose power in the winter. I’m new at this, but I’m learning thanks to YouTube videos and Facebook groups.
Ten years from now, I’d love to be able to ask my husband, “Do you remember the derecho of 2022?”
But I think this summer’s weather events are becoming the norm not a thrilling once-every-ten-year event. I also have no idea when our grids will be upgraded to handle 7 plus inches of rain in several hours. They were never designed for so much rain in such a short period of time.
Yes, they’ve needed attention for a long time, but now they need to be upgraded for our changing weather patterns.
So, I guess I’m doing what these changing times require, learning to take care of myself. I’m no longer relying on the system to supply me with everything I need. There’s a lot to learn, but there’s a lot of help out there as well.
What are you doing to be more self-reliant? Let’s share ideas.
Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.