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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Scenes from a power failure

When we awoke to find our power out this morning, it took a few minutes to sort out what we could and couldn't do.

In the Could category: We could use our iPhone to call the power company and check out where things stood. Our laptop still had some juice left in the battery, and the Personal Telco connection a couple of blocks away was still functioning for internet connectivity, so nothing was missing there. We could use the gas stove, but we had to use a match to light it. There was enough daylight in between rain showers to read by.

In the Couldn't category: We couldn't watch football on the telly. We couldn't make coffee, because we grind our own beans and the grinder is electric. We'd have to wait to run the dishwasher, and it was time. Lounging around in light clothing was not feasible, because it was 60 degrees in the house. Not having any electric clocks other than the digital variety, we couldn't tell precisely when the power had gone out. We'd have to postpone the leisurely shower, and ration out the door openings on the refrigerator.

Since one of the kids was away at a sleepover, we wanted to make sure our telephone land line was functioning, but our cordless household phones require AC power. Have no fear -- we dusted off our early-'80s model telephone out of storage, and it functions fine on the tiny amount of power that comes through the phone line off the telephone pole:

The computerized call system at Pacific Power was pretty impressive. It asked us for the phone number on our account, confirmed the house number, and then told us that there were about 3000 other customers around our neighborhood in the same boat with us. The source of the problem: "Trees." The system predicted that power would be restored by 10:00, and it asked us for a number that it could call back to confirm that everything was o.k.

The power came back on at 9:59, and the robot callback came at 10:06. Not bad.

Comments (18)

9:59? Not bad? Considering the football telecasts start at 10, I'd say that was damn good.

It didn't help my underdog pick.

How to deal with power failures?

In addition to UPS units on each of the computers and network devices, I invested in a generator a few years back after a multi-day power failure due to a pretty bad ice storm. We were one of the last to have power restored.

Ever since the generator purchase, it hasn't been needed! Only need to fire it up on occasion to make sure it is ready just in case the big blackout happens again.

Alas, there have been a few short term outages since the major one, but never more than a few minutes, and the UPS units took care of things without a hitch.

This AM KGW TV reported that somewhere a power pole fell taking several trees with it.

You are welcome. Now ask yourself why you aren't sharing your internet connection as well.

Btw, we has a couple 5-second outages here (two blocks east of you) around 3 a.m. or so. I am guessing that's what took you out.

Now ask yourself why you aren't sharing your internet connection as well.

How about "Because it would be illegal"?

Very strange. If I hadn't seen it on the news or heard about it here I wouldn't have known anything happened. I think the entire thing gave the downtown area a pass.

No trees, no problem.

Storm prep includes a little home ground coffee in the freezer. We have a gas stove and a French Press - nothing like hot coffee after a wind storm or ice storm. We have even been known to tote teapots of hot water to the neighbors. Luckily, missed any power outages this time around.

One street here only w/o power from 2:30 AM, in SE Portland near Mall 205. This street is always the first one to go for some reason. Power not on yet.

I purchased a DC to AC inverter for the car. Can grind my own beans, charge the cell phone, but not much else.

I have a propane and several white gas appliances with which to cook. But I do have power.

I keep a rotary phone on tap just in case

Of course the power companies could have buried your power lines years ago like they have done virtually everywhere since the 1980s. But expecting them to actually upgrade an antiquated power grid would require that someone at the Oregon PUC do more than cater to the utility companies and the sorry pols that appointed them.

Dave A., there are a lot of other things that need fixing in Portland as well, like not running train tracks (freight) at street level and disrupting car traffic during peek times (esp. SE Division area and on South of Powell). But that's no one's pet project and as long as no developers or kiddie policy wonks care, it will continue to be ignored.

The Safeway on Ave. A in Lake Oswego lost all of their refrigerated and frozen inventory because they compressor and generator were blown. We went to pick up milk and waffles last night, but there were none to be had there. But Albertson's sure was busy.

You have a fireplace! When our power goes out(generally during ice storms, we use ours. There are enough trees on our little lot to keep us in a decent supply of dry wood from the periodic trimmings. As we do a bit of camping, we have stoves (our kitchen one is, sadly, electric - and the only appliance we've not got around to updating as yet).

Nothing like a warm fire, a good book, and hot coffee/tea/chocolate.

If you follow Mark Nelson's Channel 12 weather blog (and/or attended the weather geek pizza gathering Saturday afternoon), you would have known a windstorm was a possibility overnight.

I didn't prepare for this storm, but when it looks like an ice storm is in the forecast, I'll put a couple of thermos' of coffee or hot water together, just in case. Probably even more critical for an ice storm, since one might not be able to get to the neighborhood store or Starbucks.

Why do I love the idea that there is a weather geek pizza gathering in town somewhere?

What is the difference between a Climatologist and a Meterologist?

It seems that a Climatologist is one engaged in the meteorological study of climates and their phenomena.

Meteorology is the earth science dealing with phenomena of the atmosphere (especially weather) and most sources define a meteorologist as a specialist who studies processes in the earth's atmosphere that cause weather conditions

I asked myself, does that mean that Climatology is a study area that falls under the general major category of Meteorology, confined to weather prognistication?

There are Bachelors Degree programs offered in Atmospheric Science and Meteorology at various universities and colleges. However, you can get a Climatology degree online and until VERY recently universities did not teach "climate" as a stand-alone degree, so now most folks claiming to be climatologists have degrees in other types of Earth sciences.

Pretty fascinating.

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