Category 1 Hurricane hits Central Ohio

DAY ONE – Sunday

Well, now central Ohio doesn’t usually get hit with hurricanes. Whenever hurricanes hit Texas, we often get the remnants as heavy rain and some strong winds. Sunday was different. In addition to Ike’s winds, there was a cold front overhead with 110 mph winds. When the two mixed together, we ended up with 75 mph winds that lasted from around 3:00 in the afternoon until around 8:30 in the evening. Nearly 6 hours of that wind force is bound to do quite a bit of damage.

Lots of downed or split trees as the wind often pulled different sides of the trees in opposite directions. My neighbor’s street tree split off a large limb and it is laying in both our yards. Lots of damaged roofs. Cars smashed when trees fell on them. And nearly 500,000 AEP users out of electricity here in central Ohio. Over two million without power in all of Ohio. The governor declared a state of emergency since 84 of the 88 counties were impacted by the storm.

My brand new roof with shingles guaranteed up to 80 mph made it through in good shape. Not so, for many of my neighbors. In addition to losing large sections of shingles, some lost siding and one home behind me had a 20 ft section of gutter banging against the side of the home.

Many were unprepared for the storm as only strong winds were forecast. The Murph and I spent Sunday evening sitting in candlelight while I worked on my laptop for the hour or so that the battery lasted. I plugged my cell into my car to charge it up, but didn’t have any such accessory for the laptop. After checking in with my kids to make sure they were all OK, Murphy and I went to bed since there wasn’t anything else to do.

DAY TWO – Monday

The first thing I needed to do was to check on my listings to make sure they were OK. A couple had trees down but no damage to the homes. None have electricity. Thank goodness it’s not raining so we don’t have to worry about the sump pumps not working and flooding finished basements.

I was most concerned with my Worthington listing since Worthington with all its big old trees was hit pretty hard. On the way to my Worthington listing, I happened to  pass my office manager’s home. A very large neighbor’s tree is now resting on the back of their home. It was awful. Thankfully, they’re OK. My listing was OK … just a lot of debris that will need to be cleaned up.

Getting gas was a challenge. Many stations didn’t have electricity so those that did had lines of cars at the pump. I got into line and was about 3rd from the pump when they ran out of gas. Batteries were in short supply and ice was not to be found. Since we really didn’t have a warning that the winds would be this bad, people simply weren’t prepared.

I purchased an adaptor to recharge my laptop using the power supply in my car. I bought the last battery powered AAA weather alert radio/TV at Radio Shack. Now at least I can listen to something in the dark evenings. I also bought more candles and had to buy another flashlight in order to get DD batteries. At the grocery, I bought food that doesn’t need cooking. Did you realize that a lot of unhealty, but really good food doesn’t need cooking. 😉 Oh, well, I’ll worry about that diet later!

My Worthington office doesn’t have phones or electricity, so I spent a few hours at the Powell office gathering email, and doing necessary computer work for the homes I have in-contract.

AEP has reportedly called back most of the crews they sent to Texas to help out, plus, they’ve requested help from nearby states.

During the early evening hours, instead of listening to the sounds of birds, I heard the humming of generators and the razzey sound of chain saws. Other neighbors were cooking food on the grill to use it up rather than having to throw it out. Still other neighbors were walking their dogs and checking to see how fellow neighbors were coping.

At night, The Murph and I sat by candlelight again, but at least this time I had a radio to listen to. When it came time to go to bed, I noticed that my waterbed was no longer toasty warm. Yes, it’s one of the original kind – don’t laugh – bought back in the mid 80’s. I love my warm, comfortable waterbed but it’s not too comfy when the heater doesn’t HEAT!

DAY THREE – Tuesday

News reports are saying that my area won’t get electricity restored until Sunday night. We’re hoping that they’re just saying that to prepare us for the worst. The accessory cord I bought for the laptop works fine but still the battery only lasts for a little over an hour. I may end up sitting on a chair in my garage with a cord plugged into the car. Could be a new kind of office.

I don’t have wash ‘n’ wear hair, so yesterday I bought some foam curlers in all sort of pastel colors. When I checked out at the grocery, the cashier looked at the travel pack and asked me what “those things” were. She was young with long straight hair so she wouldn’t understand. 😉 So, today I have a hair-do that LOOKS LIKE it was curled with sponge rollers. Oh well, better than flat hair!

The Worthington office is still without phones or electricity, so I went into the Powell office to handle the work. One thing I noticed was that traffic moved better through the stoplights that DON’T work than through the stoplights that DO work. Some of the agents said they are now staying with relatives who’ve had their electricity restored. There was the usual discussions of how we’re handling inspections without electricty in the home and some were dealing with insurance repair estimates to be held in escrow until after closing.

No matter what our own homes are like, we still need to meet the due dates of contracts.

When I got home in the evening, I had a nice surprise … my neighborhood’s electricty was on. There are now 16,000 homes in Delaware County without power. On the way home, I saw a crew from another state working on a transformer at Home Rd and Liberty Rd. Thank you to whatever state they were from.

DAY FOUR – Wednesday

I’ve been on the phone a lot so far today. People are starting to regain electricity, but still others will have to wait for the weekend. I’ve spoken with a couple agents I’m co-oping with and they either can’t retrieve their email via their broker’s system or they don’t have an office with electricity to get faxes and no fax in their home. We’re trying to work through it though and to stay in communication via our cell phones. One agent I spoke with “forgot” she had a landline she could use when her cell battery died. I did the same thing. We get so accustomed to carrying on our business the “new” way that we forget how to use the “old” way!

Delaware County is now down to 11,000 without power. The treed areas of Worthington are still not projected to have all power restored until Sunday. I spoke with another person in my office who said that in addition to the tree on our manager’s home (which will require a crane), one of the agents has a tree on parts of her home as well.

So far, people are trying to be cooperative and maintain good spirits, but you can tell by their voices that the situation is wearing their nerves a little thin. We are all SO thankful that the weather is cooperating. The mild temps allow us to be comfortable without AC or heat.

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