Wicked wind, need to prep

September 5, 2012 

When the power went out there was still coffee in the pot. No problem. Can't make fresh but I'll just pour a lukewarm cup and put it in the microwave.

Right.

I did a number of those second-nature things that don't work when Mother Nature strikes, as she did with her wind Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Flip the bathroom light switch. Try to check the time on the clock radio.

Before the lights went out we'd watched the wind fell a tree just beyond our fence. It cracked and popped and then three quarters of the tree fell slowly. Strips of bark held separating parts together and made for a soft landing.

We didn't see the other damage happen. In early morning light we did see the May Day tree half uprooted and listing, and two birch with broken trunks, both waiting to finish their falls. The neighborhood was riddled with trees down and limbs scattered.

At work, the wind had vandalized the landscaping, leaving sod ripped and trees down.

This wasn't the worst wind storm I'd experienced in Anchorage. The power outage was no surprise -- the lights have gone out for less. We made sure we had the big flashlight at hand and knew where the candles and matches were.

But I felt the sting of unpreparedness when my neighbor told my sons, who were getting into the van, that there was no school. No smartphone, no portable radio, so I missed the message.

How many times have I told myself to get one of those wind-up radios that don't even need a battery? And what about that emergency kit, the one the Red Cross and every other first responder recommends that families have -- the one I've written editorials about?

You couldn't find it in my garage.

Damage was minor, inconvenience passed -- this time. There was a warning in that wind. Maybe I'll heed it this time.

-- Frank Gerjevic

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