We finally got power back last night around 5:30pm (down just over 7 full days) and finally got our internet back this morning. We were very lucky overall, we had some damage to our fence as the result of 3 huge trees that went down. We were hit during the middle set of storms that went through around noon. I knew that these weren't the only trees down in our neighborhood when the power went out. There is one particular corner in our neighborhood that has often had trees go down during really bad storms, in the last few years. When the power went out I knew something had gone down at this corner again, but I had no idea until I went for a walk after the storms died down a bit. I only got to my next door neighbors house before I realized that we had a third tree go down, blocking his drive-way. The huge tree that I knew had come down at the roots had fallen across his car and hit his house a bit (luckily, causing only minor damage). There was another tree down blocking most of our road. Another neighbor walking the neighborhood told me the damage on our block was nothing compared to what was down at the bottom of the neighborhood. I walked down to the area where I figured trees had fallen knocking out the power and found that three houses in that area had trees on their roofs, as well as many trees and power lines blocking the road. Another neighbor told me that the other entrance to our neighborhood was also blocked. The neighborhood was already coming together to clear a path so people could get to their homes.
With the power out our only access to the outside world was the car radio and my phone (which had limited internet access including access to Facebook), so we really had no idea how bad things were in other areas. It was only via Facebook updates that we found out that power had gone out throughout the county. We were most thankful on Thursday morning that at least one station was doing nothing but airing local information (rather than their usual music), giving updates regarding the power situation and taking phone calls to help people get and share information.
We were happy to know that we had plenty of food on hand, although a little concerned at what might happen to the portion of our food that was in the freezer if the power remained off for several days. We discovered that power was out to the entire area because the lines from the main nuclear plant were down, therefore power would remain down for several days. We knew we'd have to do something with our frozen stockpile. Thursday afternoon UPS showed up with the box of Omaha Steaks we'd ordered the week before; more too eat! We were happy to be able to share our stockpile (and the steaks) with friends and neighbors over the next couple of days. Despite sharing, we still had a lot of food we had to throw out when we finally got power back yesterday.
When it was all said and done and we got our power back, I emptied our fridge and both freezers and we were left with a turkey, 4 bowls of cool whip (still solid?), 2 bags of potatoes, some hot dogs, cookie dough and lots of cheese.
This morning I loaded up a bunch of bags of health & beauty items and non-perishable foods from our stockpile and took them to one of the local churches that were taking donations and distributing them directly to shelters in areas nearby. Most all of us with any kind of stockpile have way more than we need and it is in times like these that we can use those stockpiles to help others who are in need. There food banks and shelters that can use these items any day of the week, but at times like these there are so many more people in need. There is no reason to not donate items from your stockpile. Take some time and go through it, look for items that you have too many of or that you won't likely use before they expire. Use this as an opportunity and reminder to clean out your stockpile, but more importantly to help others.
I posted the link from Passionate Penny Pincher of donation opportunities that she put together just a couple of days into the recovery process. As more and more power is restored there are more and more locations where you can drop-off donations. If you are not close enough to drop-off donations, please call some of these locations to see if you can't mail items, or find out if there is not a drop-off location closer to you. There are locations all over the country that are bringing donated items into the area. You can see a current list of donation drop-off locations, shelters and resources on the website of our local CBS affiliate, WHNT19. Please consider helping in any way that you can.