Lessons Learned From 9 Days Without Power
The Survival Mom
It was mid-July
a few years ago and very hot. At about 4:30 P.M. and shortly after
I returned home from work, the weather radio
goes off and announces a huge line of super cell thunderstorms producing
tornados, softball size hail, heavy rain and straight-line winds
in excess of 70 M.P.H.
Less than an
hour later, the monster hit. I yelled to my wife and daughter to
get into the basement, NOW! Fortunately they listened to me and
went downstairs. I thought, Im not going to miss this
one, and stood at the glass window. While I was standing there
enjoying the trees bend 90 degrees and listening to things hitting
the side of the house, all of a sudden our heavy, full size trampoline
started to levitate upwards. It lifted 5 feet, 10 feet, and then
30 feet straight up and then took off like a Harrier jet toward
me. I went scrambling down to the basement with my family.
I did not see any funnel cloud, and to this day I cant see
how a straight-line wind could do something like that.
lasted maybe 30-45 minutes and during the course of the storm we
lost electrical power. No problem, Im a prepper;
Im very well prepared! I made my way to the next room in the
basement where I have my flashlights, candles and battery lamps
perfectly stored in nice boxes. It was pitch dark. Based on the
severity of the storm I figured the power would be out at least
until sometime the next day.
Now, it was
time to put my action plan to the test. I got out all my heavy duty
12 gauge extension cords, electrical strips, Coleman battery lanterns,
etc. I fired up the Coleman 5,000 watt generator on the first pull
and plugged everything in: the refrigerator, the chest freezer,
the TV and satellite box.
The next morning,
walking outside through the front door I sure could tell a severe
storm came through. Debris, shingles, branches, lawn furniture,
and more was everywhere. I wondered where the trampoline had landed.
We lived in a subdivision and we eventually found that thing 75
yards away where it had struck the side of a house and caved the
wall in pretty good.
I had a long list of thing to do. I needed to call in to work and
take a couple of days off, call the insurance company, clean up
all the mess, cover the holes on the roof until I could get a roofer
out, etc. It was awfully hot outside for 7:00 a.m. and the highs
for the day were forecasted to be in the high 90s and lower 100s.
My wife called
me into the house to show me the news on TV. It turned out that
we had experienced a very widespread tornado and storm damage covering
three states. Our entire regional area including St. Louis was 80%
out of power. My gut feeling told me what we were going to be without
power for a number of days. I thought, Oh well. Im a
prepper. Im ready! A quick check told me that I had
about a weeks worth of gasoline for the generator.
Later on that
morning we took a little drive around our village to see what was
up. Nothing was open, and I mean nothing. No Wal-Mart, no
Kroger, no McDonalds and no gas stations. There was very little
traffic and all the stop lights were out. Returning home around
noon we walked into a very hot house. Should I open the windows
or keep the house closed up?
long before I had to make a decision. It was 98 degrees outside
and 82 degrees inside and climbing. To make a long and miserable
story short, I decided to keep the house closed up. At its peak
the house would only get to 89 degrees inside max, and a couple
of degrees cooler in the basement. The heat generated from the refrigerator,
freezer, coffee pot, and TV, Im sure contributed to a lot
of the heat. Even with a couple of fans blasting away directly at
us, it was miserable trying to get any sleep until it was just about
time to get up and the temperature in the house hit its low.
One long continuation of day one: hot! At least I had all the conveniences
of home: satellite TV, refrigerator, freezer, lights, coffee pot,
etc. No one else in the subdivision seemed to be as well off. That
night around 9 p.m. my wife and I went for a drive to see if anything
was open yet. Everything was still closed. Driving back into the
subdivision I got an eerie gut wrenching knot in my stomach as I
was approached my house. The entire subdivision was totally black,
except for my house. It looked like Christmas from the outside.
The entire subdivision was totally silent, except for my house,
where the blaring sound of a generator permeated the silence. I
realized that I had a big red and white circle on my back! We got
inside, closed the curtains, and repositioned the lights. There
wasnt much we could do about the generator noise.
The days are getting hotter along with the inside of the house.
I had to report to work, and the roofer was expected to drop by
later. The roof was repaired by the time I got home, the wind turbine
replaced, and the vent pipe repaired, all for a very reasonable
price. I was surprised that I didnt get gouged!
I was getting
24 hours run time out of the generator at 50-75% capacity and the
oil needed to be changed. Remember those big red and white circles
on my back? The neighbors on both sides of me came over shortly
after I returned home from work and asked if I had any ice and/or
bottled water to spare. Along with everything else going on, we
had a water boil order and we had been advised not to directly drink
I was willing
to help but I didnt let it be known that I had 10 cases of
bottled water and two 55-gallon plastic food grade barrels full
for emergency use. I only had a small amount of ice in a few ice
trays but I gave them what I had and refilled the trays. I also
gave them plenty of ice cold bottled water from the fridge. Im
learning many of the people in the subdivision are driving 50-100
miles to get air conditioned motel rooms to escape the heat and
sleep. Some are asking us to please try and keep an eye on their
we had some good news. The local Quick Trip gas station got an emergency
generator and was open for business. The bad news was that we couldnt
get anywhere near it! Traffic was backed up two blocks to get gas
and it was a mad house! They were out of ice, milk, bread, bottled
water and other commodities. I parked a couple of blocks away and
found that they had plenty of cold beer. Just what the doctor ordered!
I grabbed a case of my favorite beverage with a smile ear to ear
and headed home.
It was so hot
and miserable that we had been eating very light but that night
I broke out some pork steaks and brats and barbequed them while
my wife boiled potatoes for potato salad on my propane Coleman gas
a few of our neighbors over to share. I shut down the noisy generator
for a while to have a moment of some normalcy. It was 101 degrees
Fahrenheit at the moment and the case of ice-cold beverages didnt
last long. One of the neighbors hopped into her car to get more.
Everything is cash only at the QT.
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