Well, THAT was a storm. I could see it coming. I'd done the lawns, knowing rain was on its way. Little did I know.
Saturday, May 21st
The girls were to arrive Sunday for a long weekend visit. (JL was driving his mom home to N.B.) I was about to make some banana bread, but held back. It bakes an hour. If we had a power outage... I'd be sorely disappointed. Then I had a smartphone warning for the storm. Things got darker and darker. Normally, we prepare by filling bottles of water. It just looked like a brief storm. We had an emergency text, warning of the impending storm.
I'd heard a posse of perhaps 50 motorcycles passing and traveling south just before the storm. I wondered what happened to them all. It sounded like a military helicopter.
The storm sailed on by us, thunder booming up above, but we didn't get the worst of the wind and rain. Then, the power went out. Giant whoopsie.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg thought the frogpond was lovely. They were fascinated with the goldfish, especially big Percy going around and around. Normally they aren't as visible with the pond pump working.
There was nothing to do but find flashlights, reading lights, and relax. Aside from our witty banter amongst ourselves, we read and hoped for the best.
For us, no electricity means no water, once the pressure tank lost its pressure. The septic system works on gravity, so that was OK. I had water in the water barrels, bringing that in to flush with, once the toilet tanks were empty, we we able to 'powder our nose.' Also, we left the garage door open, as it is electric. This might have been a mistake, as our bear is roaming the neighbourhood. He didn't come in, though.
Caitlin and the girls were to come over, but Ottawa was hit badly, as well. I texted Caitlin, but her phone was wonky. She'd phoned, but was running out of power for her cell phone. She phoned later, having plugged the phone into her electric car for power. We were able to catch up and check in. Our phone was down to 53%.
Sunday, May 22nd
JB went to the local gas station at 6 a.m., fetching bottled water. There was only this store open, running a generator for the cash. No coffee, though. People were buying extra gas in large gas cans. When I walked about here at home, I could hear a half dozen generators. They are valuable in the country. We couldn't possibly, as we couldn't lift and manage one.
It is funny, having lived two weeks without power during Ice Storm '98, we knew the routine. Sadly, people in Ottawa were complaining to Ottawa By-law officers that the generators broke noise by-laws. By-law sent out a Tweet saying such laws were suspended in this emergency. Imagine!
One First Nations person Tweeted this: "Power is still out but, guided by the wisdom of our Ancestors who lived off the land for generations, we have immediately checked into a downtown hotel."
My first job was to make coffee. This wasn't my first rodeo!
Checking in with the kids, I found out what was going on. They were glamping. The kids baked bread on the BBQ, as well as nachos. Of course, I didn't find this out until our power came up around 2:30 on Sunday. What a relief! Our Internet came up, then went down. The damage is extensive in a large area.
Sunday, 6 a.m.
In the first 24 hours after destructive thunderstorms passed through the province, Hydro One crews have restored power to more than 360,000 customers, with over 226,000 customers that remain without power. Damage includes at least 800 broken poles, and just as many downed power lines, along with countless trees and large branches causing power outages.
Ottawa was a mess, as well. There were so many hydro poles snapped in two, that even driving out of the city was difficult and dangerous. News reports were ominous. I searched Twitter: #ONStorm, and found lots of reports of disaster.
East of Ottawa was bad, with several barns smucked. Firefighters had to help farmers get animals out of smashed barns. They built shelters, as well.
The Ottawa mayor was on media. He said that Bylaw, Ottawa Hydro, public works, paramedics, police, fire, and OCTranspo, were called in to work on this Statutory holiday. Bless their hearts. Ottawa firefighters are going door-to-door doing wellness checks.
Many places are a mess. The township of Uxbridge, particularly. Cars were flipped. It will take days to come back. Caitlin and Isabelle did an Ottawa walkabout, and found lots of debris, and trees down. These are their photos.
Monday morning, as I was writing this, I had a phone message from HydroOne, checking to see if we had power. You can text back if you don't. We were good! So far, only 9 deaths, although there were many injuries.
We'll have to assess the food in the refrigerator. The freezer food will last 48 hours. Dairy, meat and leftovers, only 4 - 6 hours. We had some Korean food for dinner that JB fetched from the local market. That was good.
According to the experts, the 1000 km derecho affected 41% of Canada's population, along a long swath. It's quite different than the smaller tornadoes that also hit Ontario.
The schools are closed Tuesday. I snorted when I read this from Ottawa public schools OCDSB. Trees are down. Families don't have power. People are buying up ice cubes, and they are running out of those in many stores. City peeps have water, but their food is spoiling. They might go to virtual schooling? Families are cleaning up, they are scrambling for supplies. They don't have HYDRO!!!!
Peterborough was hit, as well.