The newspapers we put down to mulch the watermelon patch blew all over the meadow and a pine tree right next to the house dropped a large limb right at the spot where it could do the least harm, barely missing the house, the phone and power lines, the magnolia bush, and the van. A few limbs blocked our road temporarily, while out on the highway larger limbs crushed cars and downed power lines.
The power went out at about 6 p.m. and the house quickly heated up enough to make sleep difficult. This morning we set out early in search of ice for the beef in the deep-freeze and we found gas stations and convenience stores selling out their stock of ice before it melts--cash only, of course, since the registers aren't working. We drove north to the next county and stopped at the only McDonald's for miles around that still has power, but the lines inside were so long it took ten minutes just to get coffee, while the line of cars waiting for the drive-through lane backed up onto the highway. Wi-fi wasn't working, but we soon learned that it might take five to seven days to restore power to the county.
Did I mention that it's hot?
And without power, the new well pump won't work?
No power, no air conditioning, no water, no showers, no food, no cash, no wi-fi...we're outta here!
A kind neighbor equipped with a generator offered to stash our beef in his deep-freeze, so my son and I packed some bags and headed north to my daughter and son-in-law's house. Along the way we saw immense trees split in two and a whole line of tall pine trees perfectly intact except for one tree that looked as if some petulant giant had snapped it in two--and then maybe he grabbed that trampoline and tossed it beside the highway and folded back the roof of that barn as if it were a giant Fisher-Price toy. Is he through with his temper-tantrum or shall we expect more?
One sign of hope: a convoy of cherry-pickers and utility trucks headed south. Let's hope they get the power back on before the entire county melts.