The Surprise Brought by the Windstorm

By Michelle C. Lee

Wednesday the 30th of November. It was a seemingly normal chilly Wednesday evening, and as I crammed for my stats test, which was to be the next day, I peeked at the weather forecasts on T.V. Though I was duly warned by weather casters on multiple channels about the excessive winds that were about to storm through the valley, I thought nothing of it until I woke at 3am to the sound of my yard’s gate pounding away outside and of debris brushing past my window. On Thursday morning, I was woken up by a text from PCC saying classes were cancelled due to a city-wide state of emergency. At this, I immediately smiled and thought THANKS GOD, I WON’T HAVE MY STATS TEST TODAY! Though my city was trashed with debris from trees and houses, my work shift was cancelled due to lack of electricity, my house also lacked power, I spent the whole day cleaning my home as well as my grandparent’s home, and I spent the hours from 5 P.M.-7 A.M. the next day in darkness, I am still thankful my house wasn’t damaged as much as others and I had a whole weekend to keep studying for my test.

Similarly, Jeffrey Liang, a fellow AGS member, was also shocked at the damage and chaos wrought by the windstorm. At 12 A.M. Thursday morning, he left his house, then undamaged by the winds, drove to Pasadena to help his sister, whose car was smashed by a fallen tree. He stepped outside and found a seemingly “apocalyptic setting” with several fallen trees and crushed structures. Though he chose the Colorado Blvd. route on his way to Pasadena, which had fewer trees than other streets, he still had to weave around a bunch of fallen trees and wreckage. As he drove, he witnessed “trees crushing gas stations and people outside walking around and filming as the winds were rocking them back and forth.” Upon returning home, he found that he had “no electricity, and continued to not have any for the next 6 days…[and] had to shower by flashlight and use [his] cell phone sparingly.”

From this experience, there was a lot to clean up but also a lot to learn. Though weather forecasters on public news predicted strong winds, citizens of the San Gabriel Valley and other affected areas were not expecting damage of such great extent, but now that the windstorm has passed, you can now be wary of the possibility of varying wind damage in storms to come. Red Cross provides suggestions, on their website, for preparedness and actions to prevent some harm and damage.

Suggestions for preparedness include: (if you are anticipating windstorm/ power outage damage)

-Have lanterns or flashlights handy (wind-up rechargeable ones preferably)

-Keep extra gallons/bottles of water

-Check how much gas is in your car

-Take pets and loose furniture/items inside from the yard

-Turn the refrigerator to the coldest setting, to ensure food will last longer in an outage

During an outage:

-Do not open the refrigerator as much as possible to keep perishables cold.

-Maybe keep food in ice chests

-Unplug some sensitive electrical appliance so they will not be damaged by surges of power when power comes back on.

-DO NOT try taking power from streetlights if public lighting comes on before power in your home. Streetlights have a higher voltage and may damage your home’s circuits and appliances. (People actually tried this during the windstorm this year. Courtesy of public channel news programs such as CBS news.)