There is a word you rarely hear about, Derecho, a long lived and wide spread storm that moves in a straight line and contains severe thunderstorms that can cause major damage. It is pretty hard to explain but pretty much a movement of cold air mixed with hot dry air and an already forming storm mixed in within a jet stream causes this tip of storm. It is pretty much a perfect storm and DC just experienced such a storm. I have seen and been through many hurricanes in my life including Andrew and Katrina. This is unlike any storm I have seen or experienced and I am glad it is over. Unlike Hurricanes where one has several days to prepare and hunker down, the Derecho was so has I heard before the storm only giving me very little time to prepare.
I was lucky, my friends where lucky, but it still caused damage. We just regained power in my area, a full four days after the storm and many are still out of power and will not get it back till the weekend. Seven days with out power seems like hell, with no way to cool down the heat is winning. DC has been in the high 90’s to over 100 degrees which has been miserable and sweaty. Luckily we have a power generator so we hooked up the fridge and a few fans and were able to keep the food we just bought going and keep somewhat cool while we sleep at night. However not everyone is so prepared and many are having problems. Virginia, Maryland and the District have all called states of emergency and cooling centers have been opened for people to try and stay fresh and hydrated.
Not everyone can make it to these centers. I want to say thank you to everyone who has been working tirelessly to help others and get us back on our feet especially the power company employees, the firefighters, policemen, medics, tree trimers and department of transportation employees. These guys have been working in the high heat and difficult conditions to get us going and turn the power on. On sunday since it was a little cooler I went out and bought 40 1-liter bottles of Deer Park water that was cold from a 7-11. I drove around for about 3 hours around noon to hand out water bottles to the linesmen and tree trimmers I could find to say thank you and give them some really cold water since it was about 98 degrees out. I gave out all but 4 of the water bottles before calling it quits and taking a break myself. Several times during the weekend I went to my gym, LA Fitness since they had AC and a pool so I got a good workout but still got to stay cool, O did I mention they have little TV on the workout equipment? I also drove around and took pictures of the aftermath and boy was there plenty to take pictures of. Trees were down and cars were busted up, it was really hard to navigate the area due to no power.
Thats another thing, DARK TRAFFIC SIGNALS SUCK!!! At a dark traffic light you are supposed to treat it as a four way stop and be courteous to others but boy do people not care. I personally obey this because it is the smart thing to do and helps keep you and others safe but many people were flying by me through these lights. I almost got hit twice which if they didn’t brake I would not be here right now, I also saw plenty of cars crashing and at least 13 different accidents over the few days which is not good at all. From what the news has reported, 14 people have died directly due to the storm, 3 people have died due to not stoping at the intersections, and another 7 people have died due to the heat and not being able to cool off. These numbers really show how blessed I am that I am ok and that others I know are safe. People who do not know the traffic laws or even are going to be careful should not even be allowed to drive. Its peoples selfishness that can cause these deaths and I am sure there are just many more who are injured due to stupidity after the storm.
I spoke with several people about what happened to the storm and many were able to hunker down and be safe others where more interesting. All I can think though is this storm has really shown what people can do by helping each other during a time of crisis and do what is right. I personally cut down several tree branches and helped neighbors clean up the streets and their property. I hope we don’t have another storm like this anytime soon but its is better to be prepared and when it does strike again be ready to help others!