Published On: Thu, Jul 11th, 2013

Wright to the Point

 

A year ago today—it happened.

June 29, 2012. Very few of us saw it coming until it was right on our doorstep. Its arrival was quick, decisive, and extensive.

In a matter of a few minutes, the lives of nearly everybody in the Greenbrier Valley—and throughout several states—were severely disrupted for many days, and in some cases, weeks. {{more}}

You remember what it was: the history-making, unprecedented, never-to-be-forgotten derecho.

Up until that point, most people had never heard of a derecho.

We know what it is now.

Boy, do we know.

Although fortunately few lives were lost, major disruptions turned life on its edge for quite some time for all of us. The primary disruption, of course, was the loss of power.

Without a doubt, what made this power outage stand head-and-shoulders above all others was its pervasive, widespread nature. It wasn’t just scattered areas that were without electricity—it was virtually everyone.

Because of that, a good portion of the local commerce came to a standstill. Computers became useless. Gasoline became an urgent commodity. In case we had forgotten, we were reminded in no uncertain terms that without electricity to run the pumps, gasoline could not be sold.

Many folks lost water service also, making bottled water a hot commodity as well, especially since the derecho was immediately followed by some of the hottest weather of the season so far.

We became painfully aware of how much we depend on air conditioning, even here in the relatively cool mountains of the Alleghenies. Without electricity to run even the simplest of fans, we were totally at the mercy of the brutal, oppressive heat.

Above all, the derecho taught us how tenuous, how fragile our daily lives are—and how virtually everything can change in a flash. Our dependency on technological items and conveniences that were unheard of a few decades ago make us more susceptible to total chaos when they are suddenly unavailable.

It’s good to remember what happened a year ago today. And in remembering, may we be better prepared, both practically and emotionally, to handle any such additional emergencies should they happen in the future.

You just never know.

 

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