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The Great Derecho of 2012

I haven’t been around for several weeks thanks to Mother Nature; as late as yesterday evening I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to post on BellaOnline today. Two weeks ago on Friday June 29th The Great Derecho of 2012 swept through the Mid-Atlantic; it started when air-masses with greatly different temperature differentials mixed near Chicago, and then roared at almost 80 miles-per-hour through the Midwest, down the Ohio River valley, across the Appalachian Mountains, and through the Potomac River Valley in a swath over 100 miles wide. Hurricane-force winds, lighting and thunder, golf-ball sized hail blew over trees and knocked out electricity for over a million people in the Washington DC-Maryland-Virginia region. It was horrific, listening to the hail crash into our roof while trees crashed down around our property, while our neighbor across the road had a tree fall onto the power lines.

Add to this a stretch of extreme heat and humidity, with thermal values over 110 degrees and it was a dire situation. It was the worst devastation the area had endured since Hurricane Isabel in September 2003, when we had no power for nine days. We were fearful we wouldn’t be able to survive this time with the extreme heat. Fortunately I was able to find some ice and the most perishable items went into the ice chest; we had battery-operated lanterns from last year’s Hurricane Irene (we only lost power for about 12 hours that time); and I was lucky enough to find an Eton emergency radio with solar power and a hand-crank at a local store, making me grateful for bricks-and-mortar retailers. There was no internet, phone or TV, no hot water but lucky for us our gas cook top worked so we could have coffee and friends with a generator took some items from our freezer for safe-keeping. By Monday morning, with no relief in sight, my wife and our dog and cat took to the downstairs part of the house which fortunately was a good 10 degrees cooler while I headed to my office which fortunately had had its power (and air-conditioning) restored.

By Monday evening as I returned home I was cheered to find a crew hard at work in blistering heat taking the fallen tree off the lines; by sundown, we had our power restored after three days. Then last weekend on Saturday morning the cable system went down as the provider began work on repairing damage caused the week before; so we had no phones, internet or TV until Sunday night. To top that off, last night another thunderstorm, this one with mostly heavy rain, knocked out the power and cable again for several hours. But as of now, we are back to normal.

Next week, back to talking baseball.

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