Friday, September 5, 2008

Gustav – Day Two (morning)

Continuing with personal reporting on Hurricane Gustav from Baton Rouge, Louisiana...

Up early this morning and already the drone of the neighborhood generators filled the air and the ears. My own generator soon joined the choir. Although it made me feel a little guilty, I plugged in the coffee maker first. After the coffee was ready, the coffee maker was unplugged and the generator connected to the freezer. The other major power drain on the generator is the little window unit air conditioner. Otherwise, the generator is running fans and lights.

We set up a little table next to the generator as a recharging station for all flashlights, cell phones, etc. This table had the fourth and shortest extension cord from the generator. All day we swapped our rechargeables in and out – including this computer.

Except for Gustav, this would have been a regular work day for me and I had already scheduled two lengthy telephone conferences. Since our land line was functional, I was able to participate in those telecons albeit somewhat abbreviated. Of course, everyone wanted to know the local situation but all I could say was that we were OK although without electrical power.

After my morning telecons, I took a walk around the neighborhood and found most neighbors were in about the same fortunate situation; no power, some landscape and tree damage, somewhat relatively minor and random house damage – mostly to trim. Most of our neighbors have generators and were using them. Some people had left the area in anticipation of Gustav but most had remained.

From my neighbors, nephew and son-in-law, I learned that our general area and most of Baton Rouge is in quite a mess. Almost all of Baton Rouge is without power. Most businesses are closed, government workers told to stay home, etc. Without power there are no traffic signals and our already crowded roads now have the New Orleans evacuees as well. Very few gasoline stations are open and everyone seems to be lining up to buy gasoline. It was easy to conclude that there was no need to leave my house.

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