Although the media coverage of Hurricane Irene was awful, I have to give credit where credit is due. We did end up having a power outage. We were lucky. It occurred right around 4am and lasted until 9:30am so its impact on our daily routines and power use was minimal. Between 9:30 and noon, everything was working great–and then the cable went out. With the cable, went our Internet connection and our home phone line. All of that was finally restored around 7pm.
We have Dominion Power as our electric company. I was following them on Twitter (I could stil get Internet access over 3G and we’d charged our phones and other devices over night so there was no problem using those devices during the power outage and Internet outage) and Dominion’s twitter account was making frequent and informative updates on their progress at restoring power. There were close to a million customers without power, but in our area, Dominion restored service quickly and I made sure to tweet them a thank you for their quick work.
Cox Communications is by far the best cable company I’ve ever had. Next to them, Comcast/Xfinity looks like some kind of evil dictatorship regime. They aren’t even close to being in the same league. Cox is particularly good when it comes to customer service, something almost unheard of in the cable company world. They were making frequent, regular updates to their Facebook page. I called once to report my outage and their computerized system already recognized that there was an outage in my area and they were working to resolve the problem. I tried not to sweat it, and indeed, when I flipped on the TV at around 7pm just to see if the cable was back, I was surprised to find that it was!
Both companies deserve props for their quick response to the storm and both companies did a good job in my book.
The media coverage of Hurricane Irene was about the worst I’ve seen for any weather event thus far. Media coverage of weather events have, for reasons that completely elude me, grown increasingly alarmist and outrageous with each passing event. Every major weather event needs some kind of name (“snowmageddon”) and the continuous coverage of sensationalized information verges on parody.
Granted, we watched network news stations here in the metro Washington DC area and we were not in an area that was severely threatened by the storm. But that’s not what I got from the TV. I got that by keeping an eye on weather radar and looking out my window. Someone who was not familiar with the DC area–a tourist, for instance–watching yesterday’s coverage might reasonably gone into a full blown panic for all of the drama the newscasters were adding to the coverage. There were a number of things that bothered me about the storm coverage locally:
- It was far more alarmist than it was informative. A combination of looking out my windows and checking weather radar online gave me better information than the reporters in the field. Indeed, when it seemed as if the storm wouldn’t be as bad in our area as first predicted, news outlets seemed to make a point of being increasingly alarmist so as to milk the additional audiences they had for all they could get.
- The worst of the storm was always just a few minutes/hours away. No matter how close the storm was we never seemed to get to the worst of it, regardless of where the storm actually was. It seemed like the worse part of the storm was always looming just over our shoulder but never actually manifested.
Our power went out at 4am and Dominion had it restored by 9:30. However, shortly after the power was restored, the cable/Internet went out. Those services still haven’t been restored although our cable company is working on it. So I can only do brief updates on the blog right now. I do have a couple of good posts coming up once the services are restored. In the meantime please forgive the interruption.
Early this week we had an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale. Tomorrow we are facing Hurricane Irene. In our part of the mid-Atlantic, it will likely be tropical storm-force, as opposed hurricane force. The rain is supposed to start tomorrow morning and get stronger throughout the day until tomorrow evening, when the strong winds and heavy rains arrive. Estimates in this area are winds around 30 mph and 1-2 inches of rain.
We have stocked up on various supplies. We have plenty of milk, bread, and emergency water. Our pantry is full. We have diapers and wipes and stuff for the baby. We have flashlights and plenty of batteries. One of the cars has a full tank of gas. My iPad has a full charge. If the power is out, I can still read book for more than 10 hours. The Little Man can watch videos.
The news is making a very big deal of this storm, especially up in New York. I have a hard time believing the storm will live up to the expectations–at least in my area. But we are still taking the necessary precautions. Of course, if the hurricane shifts to the west, we could be in for a rough time. I suspect we may have a power outage. I’ve received email from our cable company letting us know about potential interruptions in service and what they will be doing to mitigate the interruptions. I’ve received a similar email from AAA. I guess we’ll find out the reality of it tomorrow evening.
The thing is: with the earthquake and the wind from the hurricane, it does make one wonder: is fire next?