Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever."
                                                                                - John Adams to Abigail, July 3, 1776
Today is the Fourth of July, the date on which we celebrate the American independence from Great Britain.  It is also my father's birthday (though born in France - he didn't realize what he had until he arrived here at the age of 7) - Happy Birthday Dad!

Over the past two weeks I have become intimately familiar and learned more about two new weather terms.  Microburst and Derecho.  The Brave Astronaut burg was hit my a microburst on Friday June 22, bringing down power lines and trees throughout the neighborhood.  The power went out all over town.  A 7,000 volt power line came down between the launchpad and our neighbor's house, electrifying their fence and nearly burning their house down.  You can watch this clip to see the launchpad in the background.  As a result of this storm, we were without power for 40 hours (and lost the contents of the refrigerator).

Last Friday, the National Weather Service warned the region that a strong line of storms was headed for the DC area.  The storms had formed near Chicago and were barreling toward the area at 70 miles an hour.  The storms were known as a derecho (Spanish for straight line).  The storms hit the area with fierce winds and rains, again bringing down trees and power lines.  This storm affected the entire area, knocking out power to nearly 1.5 million people.  Power restoration efforts were estimated to take a week.  While the Brave Astronaut clan lost their power for only 28 hours this time, the OSG clan did not get their power back until yesterday afternoon.

I want to say that while our local power company gets a very bad rap (they are also trying to secure a rate increase), they really performed an outstanding job at restoring power to our town after the microburst and then again after the derecho.  There are a number of people without power still and there have been calls to bury the power lines, hopefully avoiding outages in the future - but the money needed to do so is astronomical.  So we will soldier on and endure the occasional outage.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day.  Happy Birthday America!

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