Wind Power(-less)

14 November 2003

I lost power last night due to the wind. It was not a happy feeling. At first it was just interesting to see how the computers on backup power did.

The power was off for probably about 1.5 hrs, so the computers had a chance to shutdown. Butterfly did just fine. All the network hardware is plugged in with it, so I found that my internet access persists through neighborhood blackout. Of course, right after I IMed Dinger to tell him that, butterfly shut itself down for the battery being too low.

The gentoo box is on the old UPS, and it misunderstood the power state, and thought the battery was low from the start, so it shutdown almost immediately during an earlier flicker. After that, apcupsd didn't come up, since I forgot to link it to the default runlevel, so it didn't know about the big power outage and died while I tried to shut it down manually over a screaming UPS.

Besides computers, it was eerily dark, and we immediately got paranoid about our electric heat not being operational. Having grown up in the country without city water supplies, it went against my every shred of common sense to expect the toilet to work without power too.

Everytime the power flickered out we heard this massive humming kick up then die away. It sounded like a big HVAC system or a machine room shutting down. We have neither in our house, so I really wonder what that was. It kind of sounded like it came from somewhere nearby outside.

Finally, just to take my mind off our impending doom and to satisfy curosity, we packed Paige up and went for a drive to see how wide-spread this outage was. Our neighborhood was all out, but the neighboring neighborhoods were fine. There was already a power utility truck driving around trying to locate the problem, so that was encouraging. Surprisingly, we found Rt741 into Millersville to be dead too. Those lights came back on as we got into Millersville, so we turned back around expecting it was over. We found our little neighborhood still dark, though, so we drove another loop and it was back by the time we returned 10 minutes later.


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