Mother Nature is an exceedingly powerful force! So often she is calm, mild, even pleasant. However there are times when this force can become extremely destructive, and it can happen fast…
Having just gone through a major windstorm up here in northern New Hampshire, the New England region experienced a powerful Nor’easter (without the snow) that brought down trees and power lines all over the place.
Up here we had wind gusts and straight line winds powerful enough that flattened swaths of trees, especially those with a southern exposure along slopes and ridges. Jet-stream upper level winds were brought down to the surface producing incredible destructive gusts.
Most of it happened during the middle of the night (Sunday) and needless to say I barely got any sleep as with each strong gust I wondered if the roof would blow off!
What’s the first thing that happens during such a storm? The power goes out. There are still people without power 3 days later. We got ours back after just a day and a half (although I’m equipped with solar, batteries, and generators).
Having ventured out beyond our own property yesterday (day 2) I was astounded to see the destruction. We live in a heavily forested region and the number of trees down (and those leaning) was an incredible site to see. There are still countless trees leaning over on power lines everywhere.
I saw a number of buildings, sheds, outbuildings crushed with giant softwood trees on top of them. Lesson: Don’t build next to big trees!
Yesterday I spent the day with the trail administrator out on our ATV’s on various national forest trails (used as snowmobile trails) with our chainsaws. We barely made a dent in clearing the fallen trees. Will be back out there again Saturday with a bigger crew and bigger equipment…
It was somewhat intimidating as we rode through the forest to come across large swaths of large trees just blown right over from extra powerful wind gusts. It really made you understand the non forgiving power of Mother Nature.
I know that there are those of you who have lived through hurricanes, and you understand the destructive power of the wind. I’ve been through a few of those myself (although just CAT-1 at the time). But to experience it, especially if you’re out in it, is humbling. Makes you feel pretty small.
So what’s the point of this article? Well I suppose it’s to respect Mother Nature.
Many of us live in regions with their own natural disaster tendencies. Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires… however are we adequately prepared to deal with the aftermath?
We can go through periods of time when all is relatively quiet. But then Whammo! Mother Nature unleashes fierce fury.
Number one is your personal safety. You can preemptively do things to better ensure your own safety during an event. The things you might do will vary depending on your threat.
Is your house next to some big old trees which might come down during a major windstorm? Do you know how HEAVY those trees are and that it can easily kill you if it smashes through your house?
Do you live in a fire prone region? Have you trimmed back combustible growth away from your home?
Got a plan if a tornado rips through your town? Do you know the safest place to be just in case?
Have you secured heavy objects in your home if you live in earthquake country?
I could go on and on, but you get the drift…
The first thing we “miss” is electricity. It’s easy to survive without it for awhile, but what if it’s out for days or longer? Do you have some of the preps that will help you through this?
Do you have a chest freezer (or two?) that might be loaded with valuable $$ of food? A generator will keep it from spoiling. Seems like a good investment.
I have lots of articles buried here on MSB dealing with power grid failure and what to do. Most of you regulars are already set, but I’m just saying…
My own setup here enabled zero disruption in that regard. Having solar power, a battery bank, and a few generators, there wasn’t an issue. It did allow me to do some real life experiments though – like charging my battery bank via a generator rather than solar (it was dark and cloudy the next day).
I learned a few things while experimenting. I discovered that for a quicker charge to my battery bank (using my generator) I need to get a 10 gauge extension cord (enabling me to set a higher charge current flow without heating up so much versus 12 gauge cord). My eventual plan is to permanently install a generator transfer switch with proper wiring. Currently I’m set with transfer switches for my solar & battery bank so I haven’t really needed the generator.
Other Lessons Learned from Mother Nature
There are all sorts of little (and sometimes big) things that you can learn if you throw the main circuit breaker on your electrical panel and live without electricity for a few days. I strongly suggest that you try it before you are forced to try it!
Our modern lives are hinged to the power grid more than you might imagine. It could even become dangerous under certain conditions. What will you do if the power’s out for several days during the winter (for example)? c-c-cold…
You will also discover that when you go through a ‘Mother Nature’ event, you will likely be busy dealing with the subsequent damage. This will make it even more difficult to deal with simply dealing with life without electricity. So if you sort out and prep for the convenience factor first, it will be easier to then deal with the aftermath damage and cleanup.