Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow of the century

The recent snowstorm was, in many ways, a learning experience. We learned, once again, that it's foolish to trust TV weather forecasters, or, as I like to call them, the boys and girls who cry "wolf." Typically, they oversell the storms that are approaching, calling for six or eight inches when we end up with one or two. But in this case, they called for a lot of snow, and we got a LOT more than they predicted. We also learned that Allegheny Power is a pretty darned good utility company. At my house, we lost power about 10 p.m. Friday, and we didn't get it back until we got home from work Monday evening. At the time, when you're freezing your behind off INSIDE the house and have no water because the well pump runs on electricity, it seems like a ridiculously long time to be without power. But when you consider the magnitude of the job – more than 400,000 people without power just in Allegheny’s service area – you realize the great work they did, and you have to applaud the dedication of those who work for the utility company. As of today, Allegheny Power was still trying to restore service to about 30,000 people in Greene and Washington counties. I can feel the pain of those still waiting, because you really don't realize how much you depend on electricity, and how much you take it for granted, until it's not there. You're left huddling under mountains of covers in the dark, and it's not a pleasant experience. I personally learned that complacency is a very bad thing. I could have checked my generator on a warm September day, but I didn't. Heck, the power never goes out for more than a few hours at a time, right? And the generator will fire up without protest despite not running in ages, right? Wrong and wrong. When the generator doesn't work during a long power outage, that's not good. I know that now. Thanks to my Uncle Bill, one of those people who can truthfully be described as being so kind and generous that he would give you the shirt off his back, the generator is back in service. He went way beyond the call of duty. Which is another lesson. We need to be more thankful for family and friends who are there for us in tough times. I couldn't count on both hands the number of people who either lent us a hand or offered to take us into their homes. It was greatly appreciated. I also appreciated the work done by PennDOT and the local road crews. People like to gripe about PennDOT, but my trips to and from Washington were blessedly uneventful, thanks to their untiring efforts. I also gained more appreciation for my wife, who hung in there like a trouper and was everything you could hope for as a partner in a tough situation. Those city girls can be tougher than one might think. And I'm sure about one thing: From now on, when I flip a light switch, adjust the thermostat or turn on the faucet in the kitchen sink, in the back of my mind, I'll be telling myself not to take those things for granted.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few lessons I learned: get batteries for the flashlight BEFORE a power outage; and charge the cell phone before the storm hits...

--Brad Hundt

February 10, 2010 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

We fortunately had a couple of working flashlights and plenty of candles handy, but Jenny also learned the cell phone lesson.

February 10, 2010 at 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least this "Snowstorm of the Century" is the first one in this century. Back in 1992-93, they called a storm that hit around Thanksgiving 1992 "Storm of the Century" and were hardpressed in February 1993, when we got another huge snowfall, to think up a name for that one. "Mother of All Snowstorms" was a favorite of mine at the time because of the recent Iraq invasion. In DC they're calling the weekend storm "Snowmaggedon," and I see the P-G called this one "Snowmageddon II." "Blizzard 2.0." "Snowpocalypse," "Snowzilla" "Snowpalooza," Anyone?

February 10, 2010 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How 'bou the roving bands of crazed fgopod shoipper these storm unleash? I find it hard to believe that the entire area eats nothing but milk, bread and eggs. French Toast Nation

Twinkies don't seem to be in short supply.

February 10, 2010 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

They predicted 6-10 inches Friday and we got 20. They predicted 6-10 inches of snow today and we got about 3 inches. Average those two predictions/actual snowfall and they were pretty close.

February 10, 2010 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Thanks Brant,
You make good positive points we can all learn from. One of those little $220 generators at Home Depot/Lowes will be at least enough to charge a cell phone, give temporary light, inflate a tire, without any fumes and without firing up a gas one.

February 11, 2010 at 1:04 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

That was a great post, Brant, and you can tell that it's from the heart.

It's amazing...I live in Richmond, and we've had back-to-back snowfalls of at least a foot each and I'm the fortunate one here!

Here, the roads have been cleared within a day. By roads, I mean all major arteries, secondary and even tertiary roads. But the subdivisions don't get the snow cleared for days or more. And yet people still complain. I just don't understand why these whiners can't see that if the road crews were clearing their subdivision streets, they might be able to get out of the subdivision, but they sure as hell wouldn't be able to go anywhere else...because all of the crews were busy clearing the residential streets!

Anyway, I am happy to hear that everyone is doing all right up there. Spring will be here soon. I hope.

One more thing...can we please refrain from nicknaming any more of these storms? My God, I find that to be so stupid!

February 11, 2010 at 8:36 AM  
Anonymous x anonymous said...

I was thinking about you all up north today while I took a walk on the boardwalk over at St.Simon Island. Stopped picked up a bushel of oysters and few pounds of shrimp. I was thankful for the cold snap we had down here in the south. You see, it made the oysters from the gulf sweet. What a treat! $40 bucks a bushel, yeah I know what your thinking, what are you going to do with 60lbs of oysters. Well I will have 2 or 3 friends that will have a great friday night! STAY WARM!

February 12, 2010 at 1:28 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

X, you sure know how to hurt a guy. ;-) I can almost taste those oysters. Spent some time in St. Simon when I was traveling with President Carter and he vacationed there. Loved it. Enjoy, sir.

February 12, 2010 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Dawn Keller said...

It was stunning to drive into work last weekend and see all of the branches weighted down and hanging on power lines, all the trees that were done.
I have to give a big kudos to Burgettstown, the roads were in great shape Saturday. Route 18 was in good condition too.
We didn't lose power for long, but I've talked to so many frustrated people in the past week, some who are still without power today.
We were the lucky ones, that's for sure.

February 12, 2010 at 2:20 PM  
Anonymous x anonymous said...


WE HAVE SNOW in south ga..

February 13, 2010 at 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its nice that you write something nice and touching about your wife. I have met her and worked with her a while ago and she really is a great person. I don't think she gets enough credit for the great work she has done. You are very lucky. Even more lucky that she puts up with your raving and ranting!

February 13, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

I am, indeed, a lucky man. And she's one very patient woman. ;-)

February 13, 2010 at 11:53 AM  

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