Six days after a surprise snow storm dropped 60 cm on Buffalo, New York, several hundred thousand Buffalonians are still without power and starting to feel more than a little pissed off. The targets of their wrath include FEMA and the Bush administration.
I remember a storm back in Victoria during the winter of 1980-something that knocked out power to most of the city and outlying areas. There was no snow in this case, but lots of rain and wind and downed trees. For my family, the general discomfort was compounded by the fact that a neighbor's tree fell across our lawn and took down the wire feeding electricity into our house. When power was restored a couple of days later, the only result for us was that we had a live wire lying across the driveway.
The first night (which I think was a Friday) passed pleasantly enough. The whole family gathered in our basement, where we had a wood-burning stove/fire-place. Mom made supper down there, including buns baked right on the stove top. We all slept in sleeping bags on the two pullouts, and took turns getting up to feed the fire.
By day three, however, I was ready to tell our frontier ancestors to kiss my ass. There was no tv. It was too dark to read a book. And I really, really wanted a shower. The traffic lights in town were working by this time, and I so drove onto the UVIC campus and snuck into the gymnasium there with a bath towel brought from home.
By day 4 our neighbor ran an extension cord over to our house and lent us a generator, which meant you could have a bath if you were ready to fill the tub one tea-kettle at a time. Neither mom or anyone else was interested in washing dishes manually, so we ate take-out alot.
It was, I think, on day 5 that the City came around, removed the fallen tree, and hooked up our power again.
So my sympathies go out to Buffalo. Its also good (but not surprising) to see that the Canadian response to this same storm was, in comparison, a model of efficiency. According to this, 90% of electricity customers around Fort Erie have had their power restored, although there is still a boil water alert in effect.