Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finally rid of Lee!

No, not a person, but Tropical Storm Lee. Here in central Alabama, we are far enough north and inland to almost have a real winter, but close enough to the Gulf of Mexico to qualify for an occasional banging from a hurricane or tropical storm, and we caught it from Lee over several days. We are located in the almost-end of the Appalachian foothills, which extend a tail into the state - north, west, and south of here is fairly flat, but we are quite hilly in these parts, so extensive rain, high wind, and an odd mix of rocky and clay-based soil lead to flooding and to falling trees, which take out houses, power infrastructure, etc and cause endless frustration.
In Lee's aftermath, there are the typical power outages, but made interesting by modern smartphone technology, which allows folks to access FaceBook from their phones. One fellow, who has no power, but gas stove and water heat, was describing his situation as "camping with hot water". One lady was frustrated that she was temporarily unable to leave her gated apartment complex because with the power out, the gates would not open. [chuckle]
On the good side, even with trees falling on houses and cars, there seem to have been no deaths or serious injuries. On the bad side, far too many people seem to be helpless, stupid, or both. I heard a woman on a local call-in radio show lamenting the possibility of her power going out, because her husband has been on a "breathing machine" (CPAP maybe?) for years, that won't work without electricity. The radio host made the mistake of asking if they had not checked into some kind of emergency power for this thing in case of power outage, so they would not be "so incredibly helpless" in case of an outage, and the woman became angry, telling the host that "we don't know nothing about that stuff" and hung up. Irresponsible, pathetically helpless, and judging by her vocabulary, not exactly a Rhodes Scholar. [sigh]
We are done with Lee, the weather being very nice right now, and we await the next tropical rain-and-blow, tornado, or whatever.