Power back on

Power was turned on at my condo about 3 hours ago. The condo is slowly heating back up, we just hit 60 degrees (it was just below 50 at its low point). We had to throw out all of our food earlier today and once we had power back, did a trip to the local grocery store to get the essentials from the next few days.

According to PSNH, about 173,000 are still without power (after a peak of nearly 400,000 just 2 days ago).

Speaking of which, my winners/losers in the media for their coverage of the ice storm and its aftermath.

Winners:

  • PSNH (local power company) – I had decided a few weeks ago to follow PSNH’s twitter account. It seemed like it was only used occasionally for press releases, but they were my power company so why not follow them? Turns out, they used their twitter account non-stop the past few days, passing along any updates that they had in outage reports and in a few cases, actual outage information. For those of us who’s only contact with the outside world was our phones for awhile, this was invaluable. They were remarkably candid as well, clearly admitting that the damage was unlike anything they had seen, that they had manpower shortages, and the limits of their resources. The person(s) using the account were very personal, replying to many people’s questions. Perfect use of twitter and a company understanding the web.
  • Union Leader (local newspaper) – I hate their politics and their web site is really bad design wise, reminding me of the late 90s (that is not a good thing). But I have to hand it to them, they had a fantastic blog (that is a link to today’s blog) on their web site that they posted frequent updates to from towns around the state as soon as they got the information. Their staff really stepped up to the plate and delivered. There web site by Friday afternoon and Saturday morning had links to other stories, such as how safe is your food in the refrigerator without power and so on. Along with PSNH’s twitter account, nearly all of my information came from them.

The Loser:

  • WMUR (local TV station) – Most of Friday morning in the aftermath of the ice storm, they were completely off the air (and as far as I can tell, there is still no explanation on their site saying why this occurred). Not a good start for what is essentially only TV station in NH. Not much of an improvement afterward though. Their web site hardly ever had fresh content, with no storm blog that was constantly updated as tidbits made their way in. It was common to read 5-8 hour old stories on their web site with little town specific information, unlike the Union Leader which seemed to have updates from towns across NH every hour or two at times! No live video or audio feed on their site either! Combined with a very confusing and cluttered web site (go into storm mode, with only storm related info on the page, get rid of the rest of the crap), it is clear they don’t get that this is the 21st century!

Power outages continue

In day two of the Ice Storm of 2008 here in Manchester, New Hampshire.

My wife and I are alright and staying warm at my parents house. Finally got a hold of the condo office and they said there is still no power there for 36 straight hours now. Over 380,000 people are still without power in New Hampshire. A road right next to our street is closed with downed power lines and we suspect that is the cause of our power outage.

Our food in the refrigerator is probably spoiled at this point or rapidly approaching that point and will all have to be thrown out. Don’t want to risk getting sick from it later.

Thanks for the thoughts, we are fine and quite warm, well fed from my fantastic parents, and will do our best until power returns. Stay warm everyone, temps are dropping tonight again.

Don’t know what we are going to do tomorrow night if there is no power still. We both have to work on Monday. Concord is easy to get to from Sunapee, but Bedford is a lot harder, over a hour drive each way. We will cross that bridge when it arrives.

Ice Storm of 2008

Here in New Hampshire we woke up to a major ice storm. Over 200,000 people are without power (including my home) and there are downed trees everywhere. While ice on trees look beautiful, it is so destructive! Temps at the moment are 34 degrees, which is just 2 degrees above freezing. So much water everywhere, if the temps drop again tonight tomorrow isn’t going to be pretty either.

Interstate 93 from Manchester north to Concord was clear though and I was able to get to work, going about 50mph with heavy rain falling. It looks like at least in the central part of the state that some of the main roads have been cleaned up, although the secondary roads have got to be a mess.

Stay safe everyone.

Tornado

Just in case any of you were wondering, I was not in the path of the tornado that went through eastern NH today. I was about 15-20 miles away from where it struck. We had some very bad storms today but I never thought a tornado would come here of all places.

Relatives I had in that area report getting out fine with no damage. Unfortunately several towns were not that lucky. Best wishes go out to all of the people who were in the tornado’s path.

A snowy commute

When I decided to take my current job in Concord in April 2006, I knew that during the winter it had the potential of some real nasty commutes. For those of you who don’t know, the stretch of I-93 between Manchester and Concord can be quiet bad during the winter. Especially with the idiots who go 50 when it is a blizzard outside!

I lucked out last winter, with only a few bad commutes due to the insanely late start to winter (it was 70 degrees in January 2007). So by the time the bad weather came in February, March, and unfortunately April, there was actually some light during on my commute home (5:00-5:30 PM). Light always makes driving in bad weather easier.

Tonight was my first truly awful commute home (I have already had some awfully icy commutes to work the past week or two). We had quite the little snow storm, which dumped a good 6 inches or so of snow in a very short period of time, with the heaviest snow during my commute home. Plus it was pitch black out…no natural light to assist with seeing the road.

Once again, I am so glad to have my Subaru Forester. Although I wish I had better tires, this thing has been a tank going through the poor weather we have had the past few weeks. Going 20-25 mph on absolutely snow covered highway with very poor visibility and poor light, I was able to feel pretty secure and safe despite the horrible conditions. The car didn’t slip once. In fact, the only time I was worried was when the idiots passed me going way faster. I even had several occasions where people drove what was the breakdown lane to pass me. What are they thinking? Either case, no one hit me and later on I saw some cars off the road…I am sure at least one of them belonged to the idiots who passed me earlier.

I must say, I much rather drive through snow then ice. At least you can see the snow in the dark.

Only in New Hampshire

Temperature forecasts for the next few days:

  • Today – 49 degrees
  • Sunday – 40 degrees
  • Monday – 39 degrees
  • Tuesday – 17 degrees

Nothing like spring (well, almost spring) in New Hampshire.

Another storm

Once again, it is nearly mid-March and we have another snow storm in the wonderful land of New Hampshire as I write this. Last I heard, 6-10 inches should fall during the day today.

I am so sick of this snow and how cold it has been. I want spring to come so I don’t have to drive through this stuff all the time.

Only positive out of this: Katie and I are going to get a lot of cleaning done today. Oh and I love watching snow fall during the day…just not in March.

It's MARCH, why is there snow?

I just experienced what was probably my worst commute home since I started driving nearly seven years ago. It had rained all night and morning here in Manchester, then switched very quickly over snow with high winds. It was near whiteout conditions by the time I got out of work around 5pm.

I decided that my best bet to get home from South Willow Street was taking Rt-101W to Rt-293N, and then take my exit. A local radio station confirmed this choice, as Elm Street and Bridge Street (which is my usual backup route) were backed up thanks to accidents. Under normal conditions, this takes 15 minutes.

The highway was completely covered with white, with the exception of occassional tire tracks that wore through to the pavement. Traffic was at an absolute crawl, I think I hit 15 mph twice the whole trip. I luckly was in the right lane the whole time, which gave me easy access to the two exits I would have to take to get home. For once, I was actually glad to be in the slow lane barely moving…it meant less of a chance of me getting in an accident, even though it was prolonging how long I was on the road.

My exit was downright awful. It looked like it was plowed maybe a hour or two prior. I probably went down that exit and then the main street leading to my condo complex going 5-10 mph the whole way. Traffic was heavy, but no accidents that I saw.

I finally got home around 6pm, which was a full hour after I left work. Thankfully no accident.

Now I must worry about Katie leaving work. She left at 6:20pm and is traveling almost the same exact route that I did (getting onto Rt-293), as her backup route had a ton of accidents and was completely backed up.

Let’s hope she makes it home fine, I’m sure this is the worst weather she’s driven in.

Update: She made it. Phew.