PowerDown: Imposed by Nature (17 Feb 2006)

As all of you in the Saratoga area are well aware, we experienced a natural Powerdown scenario Friday, 17 February, when winds, locally in excess of 55 mph, downed trees and powerlines, cutting power to many businesses and over 150,000 area residents. For most, grid power wasn't restored until Saturday night, but some were without power until Tuesday or Wednesday. While temperatures were seasonably mild, many were without a means for heating their homes and those without gravity-driven water systems had no running water.

There was one direct fatality in the Spa area: a DOT worker who was killed when a huge pine tree sheared 15 feet up and crushed his truck. There were house fires, including another fatality in a South Glens Falls house fire.

Please tell us what your experience to this "Not So Long Emergency" was like. Were there any realizations that hit you like a slap on the face? Were you ready? Did you witness acts of courage and/or cowardice? Did this raise any awareness to the fragility of our energy supply systems and the fragility of life in general during upstate NY winter?

Also, please share your comparison of this localized outage and the regional power outage of August 2003. The two differed in several respects including spatial extent, time of year, day of week (important for economic considerations), and media attention.

What can we take away from this experience that makes us more able to cope with the possibility of rolling blackouts, brownouts, life on-the-grid, etc.?

Local icon Jim Kunstler has an account of his experiences on his website. Please share yours with us!