"There was a power outage at the department store yesterday, twenty people were trapped on the escalator." - Steven Wright
We've had quite a winter so far. The weather folks haven't compiled all of the statistics, yet. Therefore it's tough to know if the frequent spells of cold temperatures, snow, freezing rain and wind are as abnormal as they feel. Regardless, it has been challenging for commuters, and many people have temporarily lost power throughout the entire Portland-Vancouver Metro area. Especially those who live in rural areas,
This is the second year we've lived in our Multi-Generational home located in the hills above Camas-Washougal. Like most properties in a more secluded location, we have a well, septic, and a wood-stove for a back-up heat source in the event of a power outage. We've been especially grateful for our woodsheds filled with plenty of dry, seasoned firewood to get us through the recent cold spells.
This year, we have experienced two power outages, one in December, and one this past weekend. The most recent left us without power for about eight hours. It could have been worse though. We stayed warm and cozy, had plenty of water stored, and even made grilled cheese sandwiches on our wood stove. Still, you could hear cheers throughout our two level home when the lights came back on around 4:00 PM.
We were the last group of homes in Clark County to have our power restored. The freezing rain and gusty gorge winds resulted in multiple trees falling into power lines. At one point on Sunday, January, 8, 2017, there were about 4,000 people without power. Clark Public Utilities has a outages page and you can access it via cell phone to see how many other people are affected, and a likely restoration time. Although, don't pin your dreams on those estimates, ours was revised three times throughout the course of the day.
One of the most frustrating aspects when you're out of power, is the inability to run water and flush toilets on a normal basis. In most rural areas, electricity is needed to pump water into the home from a well. Therefore, it's important to keep an adequate supply of drinking water on hand at all times. Flushing toilets is discouraged too. We're told you get one flush, but it's a good idea to consult an expert to help you fully understand the best way to protect your septic system during power outages.
If you're in an area with frequent outages, a propane generator might be a good option for your household. They're pretty expensive, but might be well worth the investment. Our friends, Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 and Larry, who live in a gorgeous, but somewhat remote area in Oregon, purchased one because of frequent outages. Since we have so few, knock on wood, it's likely not the best option for our particular situation, but we'll keep you posted.