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Thread: I'm Back. Life after the storm

  1. #1
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    I'm Back. Life after the storm

    Finally got power back. Its not permanent power, the electric company brought in some industrial size generators to power the communities until the transmission lines are fixed. This storm was far reaching, You all probably know that better than me. Been in a news blackout

    Wife is back at the house,( I have a story about her experience and the types of friends that you make in the military) We are starting to cleanup in the yard. Had a tree hit the house, loss some shingles, broke a window, scratched her new car. Roof started leaking friday, So I'm getting a blue roof. All said, I came out real good, no complaints.

    I live 17 miles from Mexico Beach. Its still so bad there that only residents and recovery crews are allowed in. Panama City is bad, the communities East of Mexico Beach are decimated.

    I did a lot of stupid things before the storm. And I will tell you that no matter how well you think you are prepared, Mother nature has the final say. And she is a bitch.

    I'll post various musings later about the good, the bad and the ugly. What we in the Corps use to call a "Hot Wash"
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  2. #2
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Hang in there man. The stuff you mention makes my hair stand on end. I'd have nfi what to do.

  3. #3
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    If I had known you were without power for so long I would've invited you to stay with me up here in Jax
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  4. #4
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Glad to hear everything is returning to normal Gunny. Nature does have a way of reminding us how insignificant we really are.


    Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

  5. #5
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Glad you're safe GG.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  6. #6
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    Looking forward to your tales, GS. Happy to know a Jarhead still knows how to keep his head down when Mother Nature is screaming her lungs out.

  7. #7
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    One of the first things we learn in combat is Moltke's dictum “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy"

    The same can be said with this hurricane.

    The plan: I have weathered 7 hurricanes, split between North Carolina and Florida and thought I had it down pat.

    I have a whole house generator, with a switch gear. Power is no problem. Power is normally out 2-5 days after the storm so grab 50 gal of gas to run the generator and life is good.

    We don't eat canned food. OK I've got 4 cans of Progresso New England Clam chowder. Do you know how hard it is to get good chowder in the southern US? Or even fresh clams. But I do have 2 refrigerators and 2 freezers to keep food.

    Whole house generator with switch gear will keep the food cold, till we return.

    From the look of the track Tuesday when I got off work and it seemed to be tracking east of where it actually made landfall. Puts me dead center for the strongest part of the storm. Time to go. My brother lives in Lynn Haven and the forecast then was for them to get max 65-80MPH winds. Weather said it was suppose to be a strong 3 maybe a weak 4 when it hit landfall I can deal with that. So I evacuated to Panama City/Lynn Haven. Miss the higher winds and inland enough not to be effected by the storm surge. Load my wife, 76 yr old mother in the car (Truck goes in the garage) and off we go.

    Backup plan is to keep going west. But every hotel out to P-cola and Dothan are booked. Last thing I want to do is get stuck on the road in hurricane force winds. Roads are jammed. Hunker down at brothers house.

    Wed storm is 2MPH away from being a 5 and has shifted back west. Rode out 155MPH winds at his house with no hurricane shutters. Didn't get worried till I looked out his garage door windows (He does have a reinforced garage door). Could sometimes see across the road. Neighbors shed disintegrated. Then the wind PICKED UP a 60In zero turn lawn mower (weights about 800Lb) and shot it across the street into a house window. A pretty harrowing 4 hours.

    When the storm died down, went outside for a look. There is nothing over 15feet standing in Lynn Haven. No tree (all Snapped off) No power pole . It was like someone shot a Zone and sweep artillery mission with airburst fuzes.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  8. #8
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    As soon as the storm was over, People started coming out of their houses, grabbing chain saws and trying to clear at least 1 lane in the road. Took 2 days to finally get roads clear that I could go the 45 miles east to get home.
    All power lines were down, including the big transmission lines. All cell phone towers were down. Destruction everywhere. Took 6 hours to go those 45 miles.

    Get home after dark. First bad sign, there are no lights on at the house. Second bad sign, I don't hear the generator. Third bad sign. There is a tree leaning on my roof, the top of it blocking the front door. Able to get in the garage. Grab my pole saw, chain saw, and big flashlight. Get enough of the tree away from the door, that everyone can get in the house. Fourth bad sign. No water. Wife takes a couple of bottles of water and makes ramen for supper.

    Even Jarheads are not stupid enough to go running around a yard with trees down after dark. So off to bed.

    Next morning survey the damage. Not bad No structural damage,but the tree broke an upstairs window. Some shingles missing and the porch is a mess. I got damn lucky Off to investigate the generator problem. Maybe just out of gas.
    Troubleshooting was easy. What was left of it was under a tree, that was too big for my 26in chainsaw to cut. Pine tree about a 95-100 foot tall. So no power. Listening to the local radio station that is operating out of the Bay County Emergency Ops Center, the whole grid is down all the way to Georgia. Not expecting electricity for a long time.

    I have to work the next day. A few years ago I closed my business and started working for the county public works department. Wife and mother are both insulin dependent diabetics. They need to leave, but no contact with the outside world. Until I pick up my land line phone. And it has a dial tone. Called relatives in Ocala. They can pick family up in 2 days.

    My plan went to shit real quick. But got the family evaced. Then I started working 10 hours a day 7 days a week until last week
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  9. #9
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Last post tonight. There are a lot of great people and organizations that have helped or are continuing to help but I have to give a Bravo Zulu to 3.

    Duke Energy. In 2 weeks they had completely rebuilt the power grid in their service area and got everyone that was able to accept power working. You don't know how it feels when 2 days after the storm, you see 1500 power company workers pull into your rural county and start rebuilding from scratch. A lot of those workers were coming straight from working the hurricane damaged area of North Carolina.

    Verizon Wireless. Another company who's whole network, and support equipment was destroyed. Within 3 days they had van mounted mobile towers on every bridge, allowing limited cell service. These towers were something they were designing and did not have FCC approval for production. On day 5 they had FCC guys on scene certifying that they were safe and by day 10 they were setting them up as fast as they could make them and we have better service that we ever have.

    The Florida National Guard Search and Rescue teams Outstanding professionals doing a hard job. Equal to any Marine unit I've served with.

    One last one, I wish I knew which Parrish they were from. A Sheriffs dept from Louisiana sent a team down to cook for the First Responders. People can't work without food. They made some gumbo that was so good, as the saying goes, "It would make you want to slap your mamma". When you are working all day, can't cook food at home nothing but MREs and no water to take a shower for 7-10 days a hot meal is what keeps you going. And damn could they cook
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  10. #10
    Contributor bbvet's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you're safe & sound, if not otherwise intact. Central NC was somewhat battered in the last go-round, but nothing like you got down there. Haven't been to the NC coast yet, but understand it's gone thru a lot also.

    Good to see credit given where due - too many times the public complains without a valid "Kudos" when deserved. I've observed many NG convoys & elec. repair crews back & forth on I-40 (East/West) over the last several months - going where needed.

    Keep the reports coming - very informative!!

  11. #11
    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    Thank you for the update! The news stories and 30 second video clips do not adequately convey what you are going through. My prayers are with you and your family.

  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    From the storm

    Rain starts slight wind from outer bands of storm

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    Rain plus 155MPH wind

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    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  13. #13
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Some before/after shots at Beacon Hill. Taken from approximately the same spot.

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    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  14. #14
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Glad to hear everything is returning to normal Gunny. Nature does have a way of reminding us how insignificant we really are.
    If by "Normal" you mean the way things were before the storm, Thats going to be about 10 years from now.

    Still no gas stations/grocery stores within 45 miles. And its not because they don't have electricity, The ones that were not destroyed suffered massive damage.

    One of the hospitals has their ER open. The others are completely shut down
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  15. #15
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Sorry for not responding sooner GG - basically off line for 3 weeks dealing with a family medical emergency. Anyway glad you and yours made it through the cyclone OK and my prayers for those that didn't. How long do you think it will be before all the local infrastructure and businesses get back to where they were before the big blow?
    If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

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