My city got battered by the most intense storm I’ve ever witnessed Sunday.
That said, I’ve been through tropical storms, including some good Texas ones, but I’ve normally slept through them. What’s funny is nearly zero of the smart tech devices I have gave me any warning whatsoever. We went to Mass, then breakfast. All in all a normal Sunday. I sized up my weather app and it said 60% chance starting at 4 or so. Fair enough. I figured I’d knock out the mowing, stain the fence posts I replaced a few weeks ago, and maybe throw down some grass seed for the upcoming rain. Easy day.
But as I started, it got darker and darker. I had only the side yard left. Took one pass, and as I turned towards the back I could see hell was coming to lunch. A few seconds after hitting the garage it opened up. I was watching it from the Patio with my trusty protective sidekick, Jethro, but it got way too windy so we retreated. I was texting back and forth with the missus, and checking the radar on my iPad. Somewhere along the line I heard an explosion like a transformer cutting loose, and peered out the window at the road. That sound is also similar to an idiot not paying attention and plowing into another car at high speed. No power interruption though.
Soon enough It was just light rain and I ventured out to see what the deal was.
The deal was about a foot of water in the busy intersection near my house. The storm dumped like a foot of rain in a short, short time.
So I took some video, texted some, and walked back in my gate. Then I saw it – The storm had smote my neighbor’s fence’s ruin upon my yard. It pretty much was down, except for a small section in the corner and the section I had just rebuilt.
My big shepherd mix – Jethro, stood on the wreckage of the fence and pretty much claimed my neighbors back yard as his territory, and looked like he was about to repel my neighbor from his own back yard. I got him inside and then picked up on the the devastation all around. I won’t catalog it all, that’s not the point of this post.
But, trees down, power out, fences ruined. A house south of us had a huge tree fall on it’s roof. Texas storm damage. It was our time, this time.
So what was good?
- This is Texas. And although DFW is a yuge metroplex, most of it is like a small town. In my neighborhood and all over, neighbors were helping each other out – Clearing brush, running a power cord from their house with power to their neighbor without. Neighbors were out checking on the elderly in our block. By Monday, most of the folks in my neighborhood had piles of brush in front. Most of the yards were clear.
- We have a functioning utility infrastructure. My power was out 16 hours or so, but it came back nearly to the minute Oncor said it would. The 250K without power, got whittled down in days. Sure it blows to have no power. But what they had to do, they did in a pretty short time, all things considered. They called in resources from other states, probably the instant they realized the scope of the outage, because there were bucket trucks all over starting Sunday evening.
- I have two whirlpool refrigerators. My wife picked up ice, which we put in the fridge and freezer sections. The next day, nearly everything was still cold, or frozen. We lost almost no food.
- It was cool enough that no AC wasn’t a huge deal.
- I have two big, protective, territorial dogs. Ain’t no way anyone breaches the perimeter unscathed. A construction dude nearly collided with me on a walk the other day and the female – the smaller of the two – went for his throat. I can’t imaging what happens when someone tries to enter the house uninvited.
What was bad?
- We’re woefully unprepared for this stuff. I have two mobile phones, and both were low when the storm hit. Good thing is I have two APC 1500 battery backups for work. Those chugged away powering the interwebs and charging my phones for hours before they gave up. I need to get a generator. I’ll wait until people forget, and the price goes back down.
- My chainsaw is electric. I did that on purpose. My gas one sucked. So I’m consoled by the thought that had I still had my gas saw, it wouldn’t have started and I’d have flown into a rage like I nearly did last time it failed me. So the branches I had to clear, I did so with an ax. I have a collection of really sharp axes. It’s more satisfying anyhow.
- There were creepy disaster porn people floating around. A dude stopped and hectored me about people in the neighborhood not keeping things up. I didn’t recognize the dude or his car. It was a spectacularly dumb thing to say to a rather pissed off Irish dude holding an ax. He caught me off guard. Otherwise, I’d have sunk the ax into his hood.
- There were dumbshits doing dumb shit all over. How do I know? Sirens. All. Night. Long.
- Between the weirdos and the dumbshits, I had enough and moved my .44 to the nightstand from my office when I went to bed. Screw them. The dogs will tell me long before I need to act. If they survive the beasts, I’d cap them with a .44 talon.
- My driveway has a gate. An electric one. If I needed to venture out, I’d have to decouple the chain drive. See “generator” above. I think that’s the key here.
- My truck was behind the gate. I spent all day clearing limbs and propping up the destroyed fence. Although I gave up alcohol. I wanted a beer. Bad. But there was none to be had. Power was out for miles around. I settled for water.
- I stream nearly everything. I have no way to listen to radio, or get info without power. The alternative was to sit in my truck burning power and gas.
I love reading prepper sites. A lot of them, I take with a grain of salt. But, there are some things I need to do. A generator comes to mind, as well as the ability to store enough gas to run the thing at least a week. I can’t get on internet, I can’t work.
I need more guns and ammo. I have a serviceable collection, but there’s room for improvement. I also need my carry permit.
I picked up a battery radio (the only other one is in the cars) and a really cool solar charger for my phone/ipad.
I need to store more non perishable food.
It was a tough few days, but a really good learning experience.