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Hurricane Sandy: Go with throttle up

Tropical Storm winds- probability. This looks pretty accurate.

Update: We’re still doing ok with the lights although they are flickering and the wind sounds like a freight train when it starts gusting. I have some short iphone video clips from about an hour ago but I turned on two step verification on my google account and it’s giving me fits.
Brooke is taking her online AP History class at Stanford right now. So far, the wifi is holding up. Maybe the state learned something from Irene.

But would that be a good or bad thing for Christie?  If he proactively mitigated the effects of Sandy, wouldn’t that imply that government works after all?

Would he be a pariah at the next CPAC meeting?  Inquiring minds want to know.  In any case, it is gratifying to see my tax dollars at work.

About an hour ago, the lights started to flicker.  It was right after I got the sump pump reconnected.  It works.  In fact, it worked almost too well.  The minute I plugged it in, one of the connections came loose and the pump sprayed water all over the inside of the sump closet. That was fun. (um, someone remind me to return the check valve I accidentally liberated from the store).  The wind is picking up significantly out there but I have the generator!  Yes!  It’s sitting in my garage right now.  I’m just catching my breath from having to drag it in out of the car.  It is really heavy.  I’ve located one 2.5 gallon gas can so this will require several trips to the gas station, provided any stay open.  Almost everything around here is closed.  The grocery store is closed, not that they’d have anything to sell anyway.

I got down to Princeton and back just in time.  Driving conditions weren’t bad but I forgot that between my town and Princeton there is a depression in the topography caused by a retreating glacier a long time ago.  Even during regular rainstorms, the area floods and roads are impassable from Lawrenceville to South Brunswick.  In my case, it would have been a nightmare getting back because all roads leading to my town encounter a river or canal somewhere along the way.  We’re an island surrounded by flood prone areas.

As you can see from the picture above, the plumbing supply company rented the biggest U-Haul they could find and drove down to Philly for the generators.  They loaded about half of them into their own vehicles for distribution, the rest of us lucky bastards lined up our cars and they loaded them up.  Getting it *out* of the car was a bigger problem since neither Brooke nor I are the heavy lifting types.  We tried a dolly but just ended up pinned between the box and the car on the sloping driveway.  It was hillarious- from a distance.

When I went to pay for the generator, the service rep handed me a mandatory safety bulletin from Governor Christie.  There must have been a lot of accidents after Irene especially when people plugged the generator into their electrical panel in some way.  Apparently, that’s not a good idea unless the panel has been specifically adapted for this purpose.  It turns out that when the utility power comes on when the generator is running, there is too much current flowing through the system at the junction, resulting in bad things happening.  They didn’t go into details but the word “fatalities” caught my eye.  So, those of you who are considering doing that, don’t.  Get an orange indoor/outdoor power cord and run this directly to the appliance you are trying to run.  Don’t overload your circuits and try to keep the generator dry.  That’s going to be tricky.  Ideally, the generator should be in the driveway 15 feet from the house but to keep it dry, it’s going to have to be in the garage.  I don’t know how I’m going to rig this but I’m sure Brooke and I will get our McGuiver on.

Now, I just need to get some gas.  The wind is starting to howl.  Don’t know when the lights will go out.  Could be any time now.

26 Responses

  1. If the generator is connected to the house current, EVEN if the circuit breakers are off, power can travel on a neutral line to the power lines that the linepeople are trying to repair….and can electrocute THEM. Killing the people who are trying to bring people back online is definitely counterproductive to say the least….and what a horror for the valiant, brave, smart and noble people who leave their own loved ones in the dark and go out in the middle of pouring rain and probably snow in this case to fix our lines.

    I live in an area that also gets a lot of outages.

    • Good point. I hadn’t considered the linemen. The good thing is that people with new generators are going to be aware of the hazard. The bad thing is that the people who got them last year won’t.

      • Unless you’re electrician do not connect a generator into your house wiring. You can install a transfer switch if you want to do that, rather than using extension cords. I’ve stuck with extension cords since the fridge is all I really care about. I have a Honda generator and it usually starts with one pull– that still amazes me.

  2. Did you see the side by side images of Irene & Sandy?

    I’m REALLY glad you got the generator!!


    • I was just looking at the ones you sent me. We are living right under where the two storm systems are expected to converge.
      Happy, happy, joy, joy.

  3. RD, just make sure that you take all safety precautions with that generator, especially about ventilation.
    Take care

  4. Stay safe.

  5. Holy snot! It suddenly got very loud and windy outside, like a train was bearing down on us. That got my attention. The trees are whipping their hair back and forth. There’s debris all over my deck.
    I got my headlamp on. I am ready. Bring. It. On.

  6. the storm started moving fast after it turned and so the path north is going to be farther west than expected. I think that means we get a bit less rain and wind. Good for us here in North East Pa. Every one else, keep safe.

  7. I hear some drip, drip, dripping noise. It is unsettling.

  8. I got a call from work, they are closed until second shift Tuesday. The only other time that has happened is when PA declared a snow emergency and closed all the roads.

  9. I just remembered the 2nd 3rd Party debate — I hope that still happens!

  10. It sounds like it’s getting really bad out there. The wind is sustained for half a minute at a time and it’s loud.

  11. The screen door is rattling. I’m thinking that now might be a good time to relocate where I’m sitting.

    • Thank you for the updates — I’m so glad you have a snug house!

      • I waited out Hurricane Charlie in a penthouse in Naples, Florida in 2004. That was a category 4 when it hit land. We were south of the strike zone by about 50 miles but I’ll never forget how the glass doors and windows breathed. We probably should have been down on the 2nd floor like the evacuators told us but we just had to see it close up. That was when I broke my arm falling off a tree branch on my way to the beach the next day saving a busload of drowning orphans..

      • it looks like the sump pump is working. The troubling aspect of that is that the sump pump needs to be working.

  12. The lights are flickering more dramatically now.

  13. The storm just made landfall in NJ. It sounds like it.

  14. The house is solid but the floor is vibrating slightly nonetheless.

  15. The lights went out briefly, for about a minute.
    I do think this is worse than Irene as far as wind goes.
    It’s a steady sustained gust now. I hope I still have a roof tomorrow

    • I’m glad that you aren’t alone. My sister Julie is with her daughter too. Sounds like the weather in DC area is similar to yours.

  16. And the lights are out. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s not raining hard outside. It’s more like a spring shower.

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