You may have read my previous post about how Hurricane Ike visited the Cincinnati area, with winds of hurricane velocity. That was last Sunday, September 14. By that Sunday evening, 90% of the Duke Energy customers in this region were without power.
Fast forward to today, Saturday, September 20, 2008. At about 4pm this afternoon, the crew from Duke, reset the fuse on the pole at the end of our street, bringing electricity back to our neighborhood. I was there when they did that, watching hopefully. After the crew cleared the wires from tree limbs and reset them on the pole on our street, they had to go up to the beginning of the circuit, up by Sherwood Elementary school, where my children spent their first 6 years in school. Sherwood is a block from our house, but several miles because you have to drive out of our neighborhood into another. The wonders of suburban living.
Anyhow, after the power crews completed their work on our street, they followed me over to the school to reset their fuses and fire up our circuit. They were unfamiliar with the neighborhood, of course, and I was more than glad to speed things up. These guys were from Sumter, South Carolina, had been on their way to Texas, and were sent to Cincinnati instead. Having been on the road for a week they were ready to get on home, but weren’t leaving just yet.
For me, it’s been a long week without electricity at home. Thanks to our neighbors, we did have a working refrigerator with cold milk, food, and beer. We had hot water, and didn’t need heat nor air conditioning for the week. No TV, no internet, no light to get dressed for school on the dark mornings. No electricity to run our pool filter to clean up our green swimming pool.
On Sunday afternoon, Hurricane Ike paid the Cincinnati area a surprise visit on his way toward the northeast. Although decidedly not the Ike that devastated parts of Texas, this boy still had legs when he reached Ohio. The region saw winds in excess of 75 miles per hour, meaning that Ike was still a Category 1 hurricane. The winds were surprising strong and destructive, whipping trees and power lines for about three hours.
By 9pm Sunday evening, 1.2 million customers in the Cincinnati metro area were without power. According to Duke Energy, that was 90% of their customers in this region.
Around 3pm, I watched the electric and phone lines behind my house suddenly bounce and swing rapidly. Three houses up, a limb had fallen directly on the lines, pulling them to the ground, along with the electric service wires to my neighbors’ homes. Needless to say, that did us in also.
The limb remains fallen on the lines at this hour, as the crews have been unable work on it just yet. My home, like many still in the Cincinnati area are without power. Repair is not expected for several days yet. All is not lost, however. Our good fortune is that our neighbor on the south side has electricity. With a heavy duty 100 foot extension cord, my family has a working fridge and a single light in the kitchen. Thank you Amy and TR!!
It seems like a long time without power, but my praise goes out to the hard working men and women on line crews out there 16 hours a day, sleeping 8, and then doing it again. There are hundreds of thousands of people waiting, and they’ll get here as best they can. The task has to be daunting.
You can read more from The Cincinnati Enquirer. (You’ll have to make up your age, gender, and zip though.) Here’s a page from a local TV station, WCPO.
And now, I’m leaving my electrified office for the electric-free residence.