2020 is turning out to be a shit year. I’m just really honest here, and I’m frantically looking for the reset button. Isaias hit our area on the 4th of August. Jumanji level 8 (August) has just kicked off and there are still 26 days left in August.
Among all the media focus on riots, BLM, Trump, and of course COVID-19, I completely missed the imminent arrival of Storm Isaias. A storm that had the potential to rival Storm Sandy in 2012, causing havoc in its path.
At least we had prepared somewhat for Sandy, but bugger all for Isaias.
Back in 2012, we bought extra food, ice bags, filled the bathtub with water, had the grill ready in the garage, and tanked the cars in advance. Heck, we even parked the cars in the garage to protect them from fallen branches and other flying debris.
We moved the entire family into the living room, making sure that no one slept upstairs in case a tree hit the house.
For Isaias, we were not prepared at all. One could argue that it was our Amerincaness that was now running through our veins, taking the storm with some calmness. The logic being, we will rebuild and we will survive.
In reality, I only realized it was about to happen, late Monday afternoon, 12 hours before mayhem ensued when talking to my colleagues at the office. One of the guys is a volunteer firefighter, so he was already in emergency mode.
Contrary to me. I was more concerned about how I would connect my Traeger grill if we lost power and what delicious meat I could cook during the storm. Priorities.
The crazy people at the storm center give these storms names. Six years with girl names and six years with boy names. This storm has been named Isaias!
According to popular name origin websites, it means “God is my salvation”, a derivative of the Hebrew name Isaiah, who was a prophet in the Old Testament tied to both Jewish and Christian religions.
You might think this storm would be kind and relatively mild, but the devastation that Isaias caused was almost as bad as Sandy.
The first half of Tuesday went without any incident. The sun was out a calm breeze and not any indication that we would be embraced by a superstorm that afternoon.
I spent a few hours on conference calls, responding to emails, and went about my daily remote working exercises. Not a worry crossed my mind.
At about lunchtime, the first signs of some troubles arrived, and the house lights flickered. We lost power for about 12 seconds, enough for the kids to go into a panic as they couldn’t watch their Netflix show ‘Umbrella Academy’.
Lights came back, of course, and stayed on for another 23 minutes (roughly). Then it flickered again, this time it was off for about five (5) seconds. Enough for the internet to drop and clocks needed to be reset.
2.33pm – the light went off again, and this time it was different. There was no warning flickering, and it simply went dark. It felt as if someone had pulled us off the grid completely, and it went super quiet in our neighborhood.
This time it was off for longer than 5-10 seconds. Seconds turned to minutes, and soon it passed the one hour mark. This one was a keeper. Something had fallen on the wires. Something had snapped a post. Or, did a transformer blow up on our grid. Anyway, power was not planning on coming back quick.
I did not panic, although my thoughts immediately wonder what would happen with our fridge and water pump. The fridge is fairly new and would keep food frozen and cool for many hours unless we open/close the fridge often.
My biggest concern was around the water pump. We have a well, and the pump gets water from the well, but also pumps water through our house pipes and refills the toilets so we can flush. If that fails, then we will have to be mindful of flushing in case we would be out for a longer period.
For now, we kept a cool head and found all the flashlights. Kids were initially worried but soon realized that hanging out with their parents is not so bad, and might even be considered a cool “camping” opportunity. As such, they moved all mattresses into one of their bedrooms, preparing for a sleep-over party.
We would not, by no stretch, consider ourselves as hardcore outdoors people. We’ve been camping for 1-2 nights with the scouts, but we still have access to bathrooms and some electricity – and of course mobile data network.
This storm brought down everything in its path. We were on our own, fighting for survival in the dark, as we attempted to keep the kids calm from not having access to the internet.
Nothing had hit the house or damaged our property. The garden was covered in leaves and branches, and some huge branches had snapped in our forest. But, we were safe and well.