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Posted: 7/9/2012 5:43:14 AM EDT
So we hit 10 days with no power and limited water in consistent 100 degree heat.  Still no cable for internet access, updating from a friends.  Was in interesting 10 days, learned a lot, taught my wife and kids a lot.  I'll try and do a full update once Situation normal is reached.

I’m in Fayette county WV as well gotuonpaper.  Outside of Fayetteville.

Almost 11 full days, no power, boil water advisory, 100 degree heat, no rain.

On June 29, the majority of my state saw how a major SHTF event might go.  We had a storm roll through of epic proportions.  I’ve lived through hurricanes on the coast of South Carolina and seen tornados in southern Ohio, and let me tell you this storm was impressive.  It had sustained winds over 75MPH and while it doesn’t sound as impressive as a hurricane or tornado, what makes it so, is that it sustained this strength through the mountains of southern WV.

I had been delayed at the hospital that night.  Major trauma came in late and put me out of work about 40 minutes later than usual.  I had about a half a tank of gas in the Jeep and usually fill up when I get to that point.  It looked nasty outside, I was already late getting home to the wife and kids so I decided to skip it and grab gas the next day.  Timing is significant because it takes me about 40 minutes to get home.  Mass of the storm hit my house about 1935.  

ON the way to the compound, shall we say, shit got real.  Funnel clouds over maple fork and mount hope.  My Jeep was being blown all over the road.  It was an effort to keep it upright in places.  The closer I get to home, the more I realize, this is a significant event and power won’t be back on tonight.

As I near the house, there are trees down everywhere.  I can get within 2 miles of the house before I can’t go any further.  I grab the go bag out of the back of the jeep, throw on the poncho and start the run to the house to check on my girls.  The main road wasn’t bad, only a couple of trees across.  Once you hit my turn off, things were worse.  There were 6 trees greater than 16 inches across the road in the last quarter mile.  

I got home, girls were ok, roof had sustained minor, outbuilding still intact.  The wife had candles going, flashlights and 9MM in hand.  My wife did not understand until now why I kept “the caveman drawer”.  The drawer contains candles, flashlights, batteries, matches, etc.  Basically anything that has to do with fire or light.
I knew this was going to be multi day, just wasn’t aware until Saturday how multi-day.  Woke up early sat morning and assessed the situation.  I didn’t get gas the night before and had only half a tank in a jeep that gets 19MPG.  I had only 5 gallons in cans as I had just filled all the lawn equipment 2 days before.  Generator had almost a full tank.  Extra quart of bar and chain lube in the building.  I have full size refrigerators and a stand up freezer, and enough dehydrated/canned/dry goods to last for plenty of time.  I chose this house for its water access.  I’m on a year round trout stream, and Im the last house in the county on city water about 600 feet in elevation below the water plant.  Access to water was not a concern.

I needed gas.  Reports on the radio giving only 2 open locations for gas, with minimum 2 hour lines and no guarantee of gas when you got to the pump.  Luckily cell network was still up and I have a wide network of friends that are right outside the state lines.  Sent out some messages that I needed gas, lots of it.  (Needed gas for my brother with a new baby, my parents and grandmother, as well as myself)  I get multiple responses that everywhere close is without power, Princeton has power but gas lines are just as bad because it’s the first place southbound to get gas and northerners heading for vacation are on empty or already out of gas.

A friend of mine from Wythevile VA responds that gas lines off the interstate are crazy but in town, he can pull right in.  This was my ticket.  I can make wytheville on a little over an hour and be guaranteed gas.  I pull out at 0730, make VA,  grab 55 gallons in cans, fill the jeep and head home.   Once home, the neighbors and I cleared our road.  4 guys on saws and a backhoe still took all damn day.  Thank god the neighbor had a back hoe or we would have been stuck in here until DOH came through on Wednesday.

Once back home, things really weren’t all that abnormal after the first full day.  Other than the oppressive heat of 100 degree days, the wife and the kids did better than expected.  I ran the genny enough to save 1 fridge and the freezer.  Got my girls into a routine.  We would have “camp out breakfasts”, mommy would read a story while I would prep the supplies for the day, we would play outside as I attempted to clean up the property, swim in the creek, dinner on the grill which consisted of steak and chicken from the freezer I couldn’t save, veggies from the garden.  Hell, we ate better with the power and services out than we do normally.


-I have a genny, but not enough genny.  The wife was hesitant to let me spend the 5K on a whole house system to run off of our propane tank.  She is now on board.

-I had gas, not enough gas.  I let myself get low.  I was complacent.  Like the guy that CCs everyday, then realizes one day that he has gone a week without one in the chamber.  You thought you were good, when actually you screwed yourself.

-I can run refrigeration, a small ac unit at night for my girls, and a movie and tv for the girls before bed on approx. 3 gals a day.  My little centurion generator is a beast.

-Slightly related, having a Jetta TDI diesel that get 50mpg is a bonus when others are waiting 2 hours for gas and you can pull in and grab diesel.  Anytime we needed to travel to check on the family, we took the diesel.

-Chainsaws are your friend.  Keep them in tip top shape, keep extra oil and bar oil.  

-I’m luckier than most.  I chose this property for certain reason and water is one of them.  National guard started showing up with water at fire stations on day 5.  FEMA got to the area on day 9.  God bless our troops, but don’t count on the govt. for shit, which some did.

-Water straight from the pipe is cold.  C O L D.  While I’m fine with a bearing sea shower, my girls are not.  I filled up the tub early in the AM upstairs, let the water sit in the tub for the day, by bath time, it was warm enough for the girls to tolerate an actual bath.  

-Grab yourself a gravity filter from Katydyn or platypus.  They are invaluable on a boil water advisory.

-If S really HTF, your refrigerator is useless.  When the grid goes down and looks to be for a long time, cook everything you can, consolidate into 1 fridge and eat like King Henry.

- If S really HTF, your refrigerator is useless.  Stock up on dry/canned protein/meat/milk.  Stock up on comfort foods if you have kids.  Fruit roll ups, granola bars, chocolate chips (chips hold better in heat in a dark room in a can)

-Gas/propane stoves and water heaters are your friend.  They work when the electric doesn’t.  Unfortunately my water heater is electric, but not for much longer.

-If you have any kind of spices in shakers, immediately replace the shaker with something with a sealed lid.  Every salt shaker and our garlic shaker were solid from the heat and humidity.

-As my wife learned on the first day when I left for Wytheville, if its summer, cook outside, if its winter, cook inside.  A propane stove puts out a metric shit ton of heat.

-Have back up propane tanks for grills.  I luckily had one.  My main tank went out on day 4.

-I highly advise clearing the area around your house.  If there is a tree big enough to fall on your roof, It can.  Folks up the road, their house is done.  150 year old oak uprooted and went right through the center.  House is totaled, they aren’t coming back.

-Get a dog.  A big Dog.  During the storm, thieves stole 5 generators from just peple I personally know, a tractor was stolen, and multiple break ins.  I have 2 GSDs on security detail.   Knew the minute a neighbor was coming for a visit.

-Does your SO know the combination to your gun safe?  I had tried to get mine to learn to open the safe for access to the 12g and the ARs, she never learned until now.  She had her CC, but now knows she would like access to the 12g and the ARs if needed.  She felt I would always be there, now she knows that I may not be there when shit happens.  I’ve seen people in GD say “Hell no I wouldn’t give her the combination to my safe”, If that’s the case, take her out to the worst part of town, drop her off half drunk in her g string, because you don’t care about her safety.

-I’m lucky to have some great neighbors.  There are only 4 houses on your road.  Some people don’t have great neighbors.  Gennys were stolen, tractors were stolen, homes broken into, meds and jewelry taken.  Get to know your neighbors by name, not by sight.  Set up an emergency communication plan with your close neighbors.  Establish an FRS channel you can go to in events like this.

-My parents and grandmother did great.  Well, we had to remind my grandmother that she grew up in a tin trailer with no AC and no fan.  After that talk she did great, before that she was a bear.
-Establish a routine with children quickly.  They will adapt better than you will.

-After day 5, people became much less civil.  Fist Fights over generators and ice, screaming matches while people were waiting in line.  This is not the majority.  Most folks around here helped each other in their neighborhoods, sharing what they had, making sure their elderly neighbors were safe and not hungry, but once out in public around people they don’t know, some people got desperate and began to lose their shit.
-I believe It all depends on your mental ability to cope and the people you are surrounded by.  Those of us, who were prepared, treated these as any other day.  Those that lived off of the govt or that lived day to day became panicked.

CASH IS KING.  NO one cares how many divisible one ounce silver rounds you have in your pocket.  Keep cash in your safe at home, keep cash in every car.  I have 3 rolls of gold dollars in each car and cash in the safe.  When the power is out, so are bank and credit cards.  Goods are available...for CASH.
I would go for 3 months in the winter time before I do another week in the summer.  I can make heat and I can store food outside, but living in 100 degree heat and over 80% humidity in the summer is the suck.  WV never has that nice desert dry heat. Sorry for the book.  Cheers,
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 6:07:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 6:18:15 AM EDT
OP what part of WV I am in Fayette County.  I think the unbearable 90-100 heat was what made the whole situation the worst.  We made it 5 days but couldnt find any more ice to preserve our food, and went north to my parents for a few days.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 6:41:15 AM EDT
Looking forward to the AAR.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 6:51:02 AM EDT
Still out here in central Ohia. We did get internet back a few days ago. Is AEP in WVa to? God they suck!

This is the third time in 8 years we have been out for a week or more.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 7:14:52 AM EDT
Part of WV is AEP and part is MonPower(First Energy).  We made it about 4 1/2 days, until we couldnt find ice to preserve out freezer full of meat.  It kept itself cold for a long time and then my parents got power.

Very lucky my wife is a coupon queen and we had a lot of food stuffs.  I am a novice prepper and had supplies a lot of people did not.  WE had to go to the twon about 30 minutes away for gas and ice on the first full day.  It was complete bedlam.  

I was carrying my Glock 23 with 2 relaods and my wife had her G26.  I also threw the 870 in the ride for good measure.  There have been several physical altercations and gas/ generator thefts in the area.  Our county is still not fully up with power.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 7:16:42 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 7:57:04 AM EDT
We're MonPower, formerly Allegheny Power.

We learned real quick after moving into the house that a genny is a must-have, though outages are still much more common in the winter rather than the summer.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 9:45:51 AM EDT
Hang in there man, hopefully the power will be back soon.  It was crazy in Charleston the day after super long gas station lines accepting cash only. ATM machines empty. Entire citys/towns without power. It has been a good mini shtf train up for me.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 10:56:50 AM EDT
Did Morgantown lose power?  Being a former Mountaineer it would be interesting to see how the students acted.  Heck, we used to burn furniture after football games, I can't imagine if they lost power for several days.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 11:24:07 AM EDT
Hey OP, where in WV are you?  We have relatives in Bluefield and some over near Va Tech in Virginia.  I'm curious if their area is affected.Thanx!
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 12:30:55 PM EDT
Berkeley county WV here, I went 6 days and several hours w/o power. I was fortunate that 1) the city water stayed on and 2) that gas was readily available. I ran my genny ~16 hours a day for me and a neighbor. Used between 6 & 8 gallons of gas a day.

OP, I hope things get back to normal PDQ.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 2:32:56 PM EDT
Did Morgantown lose power?  Being a former Mountaineer it would be interesting to see how the students acted.  Heck, we used to burn furniture after football games, I can't imagine if they lost power for several days.

Motown was fine, I don't think they even lost power up there.  Seems this storm hit the worst in isolated areas.  Some places it destroyed, others it never touched.  I live near Elkins, there were some minor trees down, power was out for a day or 2, and outside of town maybe 3-4.  Just about everyone around here is back on line and running again.

There are power crews from all over working with Mon Power in this area I know, biggest one I have seen is Jersey Central, I passed 6-8 of their big bucket trucks on the way to work this morning, I have counted about half dozen other smaller contracting outfits out and about too.  

I guess it just all comes down to how bad your area got hit, and how far out you are off the grid as to how fast you get power back.  For me down here, it was a 2 day thing, and life was back to normal.
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 4:37:27 PM EDT
My sister in ohio was out 7 days........Id have felt worse for her if he hadnt thought I was stupid for buying a generator
Link Posted: 7/9/2012 4:57:57 PM EDT
I know Clarksburg area was hit or miss with power, same with Nutter Fort. Most areas are slowly coming back.
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 5:13:37 AM EDT
Udate in OP, sorry for the book guys.
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 5:38:07 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 5:50:48 AM EDT
Thank you for the update-I've been pretty worried about you guys down south.

Do any of you who have been dealing with this mess need anything that I can send? My company has an account with FedEx Custom Critical, and they are still running down there. If you need to borrow some gear I will see what I can do to get it down to you.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 6:03:59 AM EDT
Yeah Waldo, I think most of the Northern part of the state did ok.  Clarksburg saw some outages.  The real line of destruction was Chareston to summersville south to Flat top/camp creek, east to Grenbrier and Pocahontas.  High tension lines coming up to gauley station were broken like they were tooth picks.  Thats why it took us so long on this side of fayette county to get power back.
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 6:23:03 AM EDT
Great AAR JohnnyUtah, don't worry about the length, it's great info.  

You might add a solar shower or two to your preps.  Fill 'em up leave 'em outside all day to get hot, then take them inside for your girls to have a hot bath.
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 6:29:56 AM EDT
Great AAR JohnnyUtah, don't worry about the length, it's great info.  

You might add a solar shower or two to your preps.  Fill 'em up leave 'em outside all day to get hot, then take them inside for your girls to have a hot bath.

Thanks for putting that out there.  Solar shower is definately getting added.  

Another thing that we figured out that I forgot to add, is I have 200 ft of heavy black garden hose to water the garden with.  You stretch it out in the sun for a little bit and you have HOT water.
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 6:50:06 AM EDT
Thansk for the AAR sounds like you arent to far from me by your description.  I now know I need a Genny.....no negotiating and the wife is on board buying one.  When I move out of the rental I will be installing a whole house...no question.  

We were much better prepared than others around us and like you said di eat better when the power was out then when it was on.  LOL

I still have some prepping to do, just need fundage to get it done.
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 7:38:59 AM EDT
100lb tanks (empty) at HD are $135. Might be useful for cooking and tri-fuel adaptation on gensets.

5 Day coolers filled with ice can literally go 5+ days in 90+ heat. Just keep it in the shade and the ice usually forms one monster block. I've done it camping 7+ days several times. Always been impressed. For short term, get a couple 100qt ones and pack them up so you don't lose everything. Shade it, insulate it. You would be able to go in and out of it more often than your fridge.
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 8:22:15 AM EDT
emphasize what Razoreye said... a couple of the Colemen Xtreme 5 day coolers, one for food, and one for ice go a long way (if you have freezer space, routinely freeze water in  2L bottles or in tupperware containers for large cubes)...3 25# propane bottles with 1# bottle adapter.... contractor bag or garden hose to solar heat water, and dedicated garden sprayer so you can get the right temp...battery digital portable TV....battery fans if you don't have a generator...mister hose if you have water...cook on grill without pots/pans to cut down on cleanup...plastic utensils and paper plates to save diswashing....5 gal filter system and purifier (SODIS or chemical)..something to make the water taste better like KoolAid if you have kids... section of chain to clear roads....if you live in hurricane territory, a good 18v drill and TorX fasteners...TS Debby proved how valuable having good TV weather coverage with Doppler radar to pinpoint tornadoes, with SAME weather alert radio like my Midland 300W...the battery powered TVs were invaluable in the triple hurricane 05 season...
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 9:15:44 AM EDT
We were without power for 9 days. Glad I had a generator, but fuel was an issue. Strange seeing gas lines. Many visitors in my area to see golf tournament. I live in the woods so we had food, water and more fuel than most people. The heat and humidity was a new experience. As far as gripes go, the emergency broadcast system did not work, no one knew where to go if they needed the essentials, most towns did not have generators for their water plants, most gas stations were in the same boat. Billions of dollars spent since 9/11 and no plans by the county EOC's. I didn't see the Red Cross or National Guard until about five days. I have yet to see a FEMA vehicle. A local radio station stepped-up to the plate and began taking phone calls regarding ice availability, fuel, food, cooling stations, etc. The fire department and churches began to help the best they could after three or four days. Cash was king. Generators, extension cords, fuel containers, LP gas and batteries were non-existent...as well as ice. If you needed a prescription filled, you were out of luck for a few days.

Lessons learned: 1) Don't count on the state or feds to provide help in a timely manner 2) Food and water is an issue for most people...when the city runs out, so do you...have at least a 12 day supply 3) Have plenty of gas...generators are thirsty 4) Have a grill or LP burner ready and enough fuel on hand to use it 5) A good quality cooler might come in handy 6) Some type of water filtration is a good idea and/or oxygenated chlorine tablets 7) Chainsaw and fuel/oil.

I just bought a small Yamaha generator that sipps fuel. It can run all night on about one gallon of fuel (tri-fuel generators might be a good idea). It will power one refrigerator, TV & a couple of fans overnight & it is quite. I heard generators buzzing all over, I thought to myself if the SHTF that noise would attract all manner of low-lifes. I bought a few more extension cords and will buy some better fuel cans...maybe try some PRI-G. I need a good cooler now as well. When it's time to replace major appliances, I'll pay more attention to those energy ratings. I'm glad I had some LED flashlights, battery powered florescent lantern, some oil lamps with oil and a Craftsman radio that ran off of my battery packs.  

Link Posted: 7/13/2012 10:00:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 11:28:33 AM EDT
An expensive Yetti insulated cooler will keep your frige goods longer. Line it with frozen items and put non-frozen consumables in the middle. You don't even need ice on hand to make this work for the short term.

Excellent report OP!
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 11:54:37 AM EDT
local Sam's Club (central Gulf coast Florida) has Igloo 150qt 7 day coolers for $70...
Link Posted: 7/13/2012 12:07:39 PM EDT
Im glad your ok. Fayetteville is my favorite part of the state. Overall this was a great lesson for me and my family. I mainly prepped for a bad winter storm. Never really planned for a summer storm knocking out the power.
Link Posted: 7/15/2012 9:59:36 AM EDT
OP, here's a thought. You said your property has a trout stream on it. If the water stays cold enouh for trout, you can store perishables submerged in it.

When I lived in Montana, I had a year round cold water creek right outside my front door. In the winter keeping food cold was no big thing, but in the summer it was a challenge. I only had 12 volt power in my cabin.

I built a screenwire 'cooler box' and kept stuff like milk, butter, and other perishables in gallon glass jars and tupperware boxes in the box. I'd set some short pieces of railroad rail on top to sink the box.

Worked like a charm.
Link Posted: 7/15/2012 10:57:19 AM EDT
Thats where the beer was stored PC.  

Link Posted: 7/15/2012 3:54:35 PM EDT
Thanks for the insight and time you took to post your experience.  
It's one thing to project a possible SHTF situation and another to experience one - interesting the 'basics' of your post (fuel, security, food) not to mention the lack of viable information available.  Also your note on other peoples reaction (both good and bad); goes to demonstrate the need for like minded neighbors who you can trust.  Again, thanks for the post.
Link Posted: 7/15/2012 3:57:42 PM EDT
Thanks for the detailed report, OP. Glad you made it through OK.
Link Posted: 7/15/2012 7:01:45 PM EDT
Good post OP.

Speaking of generator security, have you guys got any ideas?   I have a concrete pad with an eye bolt set into it to chain/lock the genny up, but I am always interested in new ideas.

Link Posted: 7/18/2012 6:09:12 PM EDT
How are things now?

good job,

Link Posted: 7/18/2012 10:51:49 PM EDT
Thanks for the report.

It moved my NG conversion for my generator to the front burner.   I believe the NG supply in my area is pretty solid, but keeping the original gas system in working order will keep options open.
Link Posted: 7/19/2012 7:45:30 AM EDT
Speaking of generator security, have you guys got any ideas?   I have a concrete pad with an eye bolt set into it to chain/lock the genny up, but I am always interested in new ideas.

Thieves in my area had bolt cutters, so chains weren't much of a deterrent.

Probably the best security option is OPSEC.  If your house is lit up like a Christmas tree at night and the generator is noisy, it's going to be targetted.  No one even approached ours, but it was fairly quiet, couldn't be located easily from the street, and at night we relied primarily on LED lights and lightsticks.  Even so, an adult was awake to keep an eye on things 24/7.  Due to the heat we were dealing with, I found it easier to do chores between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. so being up half the night wasn't really a problem anyway.
Link Posted: 7/19/2012 9:10:19 AM EDT
Great AAR.  So good I sent it to the wife and family to show them why I try and get them on board!
Link Posted: 7/21/2012 8:44:04 AM EDT
from tackleberry1145

"Speaking of generator security, have you guys got any ideas? I have a concrete pad with an eye bolt set into it to chain/lock the genny up, but I am always interested in new ideas."

We recently had lots of storm damage and some areas were out of power for 4-5 days.   A friend got a couple of "driveway Alarms" from harbor freight and set them up to monitor his generator.  The generator was cabled to a steel post with the driveway alarms covering the area.  He put the recievers by his bed and his Glock 21 next to them.  Alarm was set off, cops called and Glock used to hold theives for the cops.  Cops found two additional generators in their van.

I use the Driveway alarm as a doorbell and have had it working for 3 months on the first set of batteries.
Link Posted: 7/21/2012 12:07:48 PM EDT
How are things now?

good job,


Things are good now.  Situation normal.  Still cleaning up debris, had another storm roll through 2 days ago that took a few more shingles.  Prepping the concrete pad for the whole house genny.  

The more I think about what happened the more Ive come to understnad that in a longer event, esepecially in the summer, non perishable food will be a major focus.  I thought I was good to go, now I understand how fast it can disappear.
Link Posted: 7/21/2012 1:01:39 PM EDT
I applaud you for the AAR.  It's a great read with a great lesson to be learned not only you but for everyone.
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