Monday, September 08, 2014

Hurricane Iselle, Long Version

Below is the response that I sent on August 12 to several friends who emailed me just after the storm (which hit Aug. 7).  After the original email is an update and some photos...

Original email:
While I suffered no personal property damage, many of the electrical poles and lines in my area were devastated - I do have pix which I will try to post soon.  So: no electricity.  Not even a fan - in August, in the tropics, with various storm systems blocking the trade winds when they weren't busy blowing trees down onto power lines.  Even worse for someone who has been relying on the window A/C unit in her bedroom to get a decent night's sleep.  I thought it was annoying back in April 2011 when I had to replace my fridge - and it was - but this is so much worse.  I didn't realize how bad the damage was to the electrical grid so I sat around Friday waiting for the electricity to come back on, trying to preserve the coolness in fridge and freezer - long story short: on Sat. afternoon I ended up in the ER with low potassium.  I strongly recommend you try to avoid this at all costs - potassium thru IV burns!  (Yes, I know - eat more bananas...)

Also, no electricity means no water!  Try for one day to fully concentrate every time you use water:  shower, flush the toilet, laundry, flush the toilet, dishes, flush the toilet, wash your hands, flush the toilet (sensing a theme?).

BUT, it's nowhere near as bad as it could be.  I was very fortunate to be spared any damage that I will have to pay for - other than tossed food.

I flipped the electrical main at the house, loaded the poor kitties with food and water, asked the neighbors to keep an eye on things, and basically abandoned the place (except for periodic kitty checks).  I am extremely fortunate to be staying with a co-worker friend in Hilo, so I have a fan at night, a shower in the morning, and a toilet that flushes itself.

I know I'm complaining about "first world problems" - but I live in the first world, darn it!!
End of original email.

Our electricity came back on and I returned home on Monday August 18.  I discovered that day that my hot water heater needed to be replaced and on Tuesday I discovered that my fridge wasn't working correctly and it took a few days to find and appliance repair person.  Last week I discovered that the washer and dryer aren't working either.  The reason?  On Aug. 10 the electric company tried to restore power to me and my neighbor (there's a line that comes from the street between our properties and then branches off to each house) but the workers didn't notice that the neutral line that serves our houses was damaged so our houses got a HUGE jolt of electricity. 

I'm still fortunate that I didn't end up with a tree on my house or my water catchment tank, which would have resulted in major inconvenience and expense.  Now the semester has started and I'm working Sundays again (which I enjoy) and things are almost back to normal.  {HUGE sigh of relief}

snapped power pole

trees on power lines

cones marking power lines dragging ON the road