After Irma

The original plan was to have a four day weekend working on projects and binging on Netflix while Connie was away. Instead we got to watch and prepare for a storm. The majority of yesterday was spent dealing with the effects of Hurricane Irma as the storm made its way up Florida and through Georgia.

Here at the house, Irma brought some gusty winds, a fair bit of rain, a few tornado warnings, but no problems with flooding or wind damage.

Other parts of the Charleston area got pretty hammered, especially the peninsula and the coastal areas. High tide yesterday was reported at 9.9 feet (3 m) and there were pictures posted on Twitter of the harbour spilling over the sea wall and filling up White Point Gardens.

Numerous other pictures on Twitter and Facebook showed the epic flooding that happened on the peninsula and other parts of the area.

The iconic Folly boat that got blown ashore during Hurricane Hugo got blown back into the ocean by Irma. It got blown into someone’s dock, and the last I’ve heard so far is that it might be secured to that dock or in someone’s yard ready to be put back where it originally landed.

There were reports of tornado touchdowns in Johns Island and West Ashley, although I haven’t seen any confirmation of those yet. There were confirmed water spouts off the coast of Isle of Palms though, so there was a lot of potential for tornado activity.

Aside from the tornado warnings, everything was going reasonably well until the power went out. Power went out a couple of times so we got to put the new generator to work. The first power outage was around 3 PM and lasted about 4 hours. The second one happened later in the evening (neighbours reported a transformer near the apartments next to us blew up) not long after I put all the extension cords away. I was expecting the power to be out for the rest of the night, but thankfully power was restored a couple hours later. The generator was a bit on the loud side, but it worked great and was easy to start.

Irma proved to be a good training exercise for us. There were a lot of things we did that worked well, and we learned a few things that we’ll do a little differently for next time.

  • Stage the generator on the back porch instead of having to go out into the wind and rain to pull the generator out of the garage
  • Consider having a transfer switch installed to plug the generator into instead of running a bunch of extension cords all over the place.
  • Pack the freezer more to help it maintain temperature.
  • Could use a few more of these flashlights scattered around the house. These come on automatically when wall power disappears and are especially handy when power goes out at night.
  • Have bags and everything we need for the pets packed in case we decide to flee.
  • Skip the tomato flavoured pouches of tuna.

Now to go put all the outside things back where they belong.

Three months left in the hurricane season this year and already halfway through the list of storm names.