Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Storm, 2011

I’m back in the office now, with actual lights and power enough to type this. Let me tell you about the last few days.

On Friday morning, the radio informed me that the area (Eastern PA) would be getting 4-6 inches of snow. By the afternoon, a co-worker was saying 6-8. When I got home, my mother-in-law said 8-10. I was simply hoping that it would get me out of my Saturday morning cat dissection. No such luck.

At 7:30am Saturday, when I left the house, it was cold, windy and pouring rain. By the time I left class at 11am, it looked like this:This is not normal October snow. I’m from Syracuse, and snow on Halloween is more common than not. But that is usually a powdery dusting. This was wet, heavy, icy shit. January snow. And lots of it. At one point, it was coming down at an inch an hour, easily.

I got home safely - barely - and was eating lunch with my fiance and his mother when that stupid Miley Cyrus song about hiking came on the radio. I said, “When I hear this at the office, I turn the radio off”, and the power went out. It hasn’t come back on yet.

Saturday was nice: Dave and I took a nap in our still-warm room, we went out for Chinese food, watched the Usual Suspects and drank Black Russians. We walked by candlelight and it was more an adventure than anything. Throughout the night we could hear loud cracks from outside as branches broke under the strain of such heavy snow.

We awoke Sunday to blazing sun and half a tree across the porch. Also, no heat. We took a shower with what little hot water remained in the tank and enjoyed watching our bodies steam in the rapidly cooling house. We cleared the debris and ran errands all day in the hopes that we would get power back soon. When we heard from a neighbor that Tuesday is the earliest that the grocery store down the road will get power, we checked into a hotel. By now every hotel in the city is booked full, as over 115,000 homes in the area are without power.

As fun as staying in a hotel can be, this sucks. It means I have to get up even earlier for work, Dave is back doing his rotations so I have a room alone, and this morning it was so foggy I could barely see to drive. I’m beginning to think that Harold Camping may have been right.

And yet, we are the lucky ones. We can afford a hotel room, and we had enough foresight to book it while there were still some left. There are still hundreds of thousands, I’ve heard up to 2.1 million in total in the Northeast, without power. If you can find a way to help, please do. This is America, we should be above having our citizens freeze to death, though I’m sure it is already happening.

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