A tornado passed within a mile of my undisclosed location Thursday night. It cut a long path of destruction that included a power substation that supplied electricity to a huge area. No one was seriously injured, thank goodness. There was some substantial property damage, many destroyed power lines, and several trees twisted into splinters. I never actually heard or saw anything out of the ordinary for any run of the mill thunderstorm. Unfortunately, when the power was cut, I lost access to most of my weather watching resources. Usually if the power goes down here the signal tower stays working, so I can keep getting updates until the backups power down. This time the power was cut for the tower, so I had power, but no signal. The storm passed by 3AM. With no power for miles and miles around the light pollution for the entire area was completely dissipated. For the first time in years I saw the sky in total darkness, apart from occasional flashes of lightning. Stars upon stars stretching away infinitely. It’s almost impossible to see the sky that way now. It takes a disaster.
Without power I was at loose ends for the entire day. There was no way to purchase gas. Against all odds the locals did not deteriorate into roving bands of hooligans shaking down travelers for “juice”. Everyone seemed to be opperating under the impression that local businesses had backup generators. This is resoundingly not the case. Even Wal-Mart, beast that does not sleep, was shuttered. I too was left to my own devices. Ironically, the better part of my devices require power to function, so little of value was accomplished. As electronics began to fail I meted out portions of saved electricity to them. My backups can only power a computer for a few minutes, but they can charge smaller things for significantly longer. I was able to entertain myself, althought it felt more like wasted time than a vacation. Generally speaking I’m happier if I’m working, even if it doesn’t seem that way.
Power was restored a little after sundown. It felt like it was much later since I actually experienced the slide into darkness, but the whole evening stretched out before me. I didn’t fall behind on the most important comic duties at any rate.
Thanks for all the various tips on Friday’s blog. I appreciate the feedback. The data on that drive isn’t worth spending money to save. If I can’t get it working I may crack the thing open just to see what the inside actually looks like, since it’s lost either way. If it can’t be salvaged I’m definitely going to scatter it to the four winds.