Battening Down the Hatches

What a crazy year…serious.  Crazy.

Yesterday in Iowa everyone was on alert.  Seriously, there was a buzz in the air with anticipation.  Everywhere we went, everywhere we looked, everything we did was all because of the great winds that we were expecting.

I don’t know if you can read the graphic but it says, enhanced damaging winds to 70mph, and then it says some isolated gusts of 80mph or higher.  These are straight-line winds not associated with a tornado.

Then it says, “A strong tornado could occur”.

See the red graphic on the map.  We’re in the red zone.

We live in Iowa.  Iowa doesn’t get tornados in December.  We get snowstorms.  We don’t have any snow on the ground now.  We did have a bit of snow but all of that quickly melted away a couple of days later and then yesterday we had record temps in the 60s some reaching to 70s.  It blew out the all-time records for the month.  CRAZY.

We were told to expect power outages.  They gave us all kinds of warnings and we had no idea what to expect.  We got warnings like this, “Damaging winds tonight could blow down trees and power lines causing power outages, possible for a prolonged period of time”.

Here was another warning…
“Tornadoes will also be possible, particularly near and west of the Mississippi River.  There is the potential for a strong tornado to occur.”

Well after we’ve been seeing the news and saw the terrible damage the tornadoes across states to our south and east have endured, we were all a little on edge and nervous.

Then schools called off school and sent kinds home early as the high profile vehicles like buses were in danger of rolling with the winds that were expected.

Some of you might remember the derecho that happened in Iowa in 2020…I sure remember it.  Many of us had family and loved ones that lived through that…so that put us all on edge too.  UGH.

So…with Carver dressed in shorts in December and Gannon heading out with no coat on, Kalissa and I did some things that would hopefully prepare us should something happen.  We filled our cars with gas.  Gas was a big problem when the derecho hit.  Gas stations were out of electricity so the pumps wouldn’t work.  We filled our spare gas cans.  Not so much for gas for our cars but…if the electricity goes out, we have the generator and it needs gas to run.

One news outlet reminded people that if there was no electricity, we couldn’t heat our homes.  Another told people if they had loved ones that were on oxygen to make plans in case there was no electricity.

Oh my.

The news was all doom and gloom.  I don’t normally get hyper and nervous about the weather but this had me wondering.

I decided to fill up some water buckets and water in the refrigerator.  I charged my phone.  Then I thought I did what I can.  I was going to try to get something done on the computer.

Then my neighbor messaged me and asked if I needed help getting anything taken indoors.  That reminded me that I was going to take my flag in.  Then I did a swoop around the property to make sure everything was safe.  Ah.  It felt eerie outside.

So slowly the clock ticked to storm time…were we going to get storms?  Were we not?

Then I pulled up the radar and saw that counties to the west of us were in a tornado watch…and some places like Sioux City where Ronda one of our charity quilt finishers lives was actually in a tornado warning.  UGH.  I started to believe that maybe the hype was necessary.

The hatches are battened down, now we waited…

The storm went through at about 8 pm.  It blew like crazy but right here in Waucoma, I don’t know that it was a lot worse than any other powerful storm.

Me and all of our kids were chatting back and forth and then during the chatting I accidentally hit the video chat button.  Karl, Kalissa and I all live in  Waucoma.  The other three live within 2 hours of my house.  The strange thing about the storm was that most of us were being hit all within an hour span of time.

Buck lives the furthest south and originally, he was not in the warned area but as the forecast tightened up, his area was added.

After the storms passed, the winds were still wild.  It howled all night long.

In the end…
we were all fine.  Buck and his family lost power for 3 hours or so.  As part of our conversations in the family message group, Buck was sending pictures of how his family was surviving with no electricity.

Oh my, things have come a long way from when I was a kid.  I remember my parents having a big old Coleman lantern.  Not Buck.  This was his light source…

It is actually a solar-powered lantern that can also charge your cell phone.   Yes, please.  I ended up going straight to Amazon and buying one.  They are recommended for hurricane and emergency kits as well as for camping.  I just want it for days when the power goes out.  You can find them HERE on Amazon.  I already did my Christmas shopping but next year, I think my kids who don’t have one are going to get one.

Buck also sent this video.  This is something I’ve never heard of either.  These are Emergency Rechargeable Lightbulbs.  He put the bulbs in his kitchen lights that are over the island.  The bulbs stay in place and act like any other bulb.  Then when the power goes out, the bulbs will stay on.  They are automatically charged with regular use.  Who knew there was such a thing??  I sure didn’t.  I ended up ordering two of those too.  You can find them HERE.

Those are so cool…and not expensive either.

He was also telling us all about his Head Lamp.  Happily, I already had one of those…  Kramer used these all the time on the farm.  You just wear them on your head like a coal miner.

The other thing Buck reminded me that I was supposed to buy is a cord for the generator.  He told me when the derecho went through people could get a generator but often didn’t have a good cord to use with it.  I’m set now.

I think I’m set now if we end up with a storm…

Iowa itself didn’t fair the best.  Power was and in some places still is out.  There is storm damage in places 45 minutes from our house.  43 of the 99 counties were declared disaster areas.

Southern Minnesota was also hit and Kramer’s family had some damage to outbuildings and their grain set up.  It was sad to see pictures.

Our family was very lucky and made it through without any problems.  I’m so thankful for that.

21 thoughts on “Battening Down the Hatches”

  1. Crazy weather is right. Here in northern MI yesterday it was in the 50’s&60’s. We normally have in excess of 70″ of snow by now. We have none. Storm came in around 2am. Hubby is fire chief he’s been out since then. Extensive power outages and winds 60mph.

    1. Down here on the west side of Michigan, we had a gust of 79 mph reported. We fared fine, but I felt horrible to hear of the dairy cows that died from electrocution. I haven’t seen what the cause was, but I’m guessing something took down the lines. The man inside the barn made it out thanks to his muck boots! Here’s praying our weather turns to regular winter snow. Those were some great gear suggestions. The lightbulbs are a fantastic idea!

  2. Glad you didn’t suffer any damage. Here in WY 60 mph winds are pretty normal. Wednesday some place just west of Cheyenne there was a 94mph gust. A breeze for us is 25-30mph winds.

  3. Glad Things were ok for you! I live in Gretna NE and we had fierce winds. Our power went out at 4 yesterday afternoon and they finally got us back on a 2 this afternoon. Thankful we didn’t sustain any outdoor damage this time around. Having a fireplace is a blessing! we all camped in the living room and den last night and kept the fire going all night.

  4. Judith Fairchild

    I was watching and waiting to hear. What was happening. I couldn’t get much information on my family members. Last night. The news in southern Missouri is fixated on the Kentucky and Eastern Missouri tornado of last week.
    But today I picked up bits and pieces of the news about Iowa. So much damage and also so much to be thankful for.

  5. I live about 35 miles straight west of Minneapolis and thankfully we were spared severe weather, but we were under a tornado watch. We got a lot of rain, then sleet along with thunder and lightning. Unfortunately a tornado did touch down in a very small town in southern MN and there was damage. But the winds during the night were very strong. We had hurricane gusts of 80 miles per hour!!! Unreal!!! I thought my house was going to blow away! Went from a weird 58 degrees yesterday to a freezing 22. It was crazy and scary.

    At least you are now prepared for anything!!! I’m going to buy some of those bulbs too!!!

  6. Really glad you and yours are safe. I live in Kentucky and we had historic tornadoes Friday night. My Grandson’s family were very blessed. They had all 5 kids and two new puppies in the bathtub with a mattress over them. My grandson sit in the floor with his feet braced against the door to prevent it opening. He said he could fill the house shaking. They lost shingles, trees, power poles, and electricity but their lives were spared. The Dairy farm about 100 yards behind him was totally destroyed. They lost all their cows, barns, and home but no one was killed. Thanks for info on battery operated lighting.

  7. So good to hear that you didn’t have a bad storm. Thank you for sharing the information about the lights. I remember when you shopped for generators (I think it was you). I didn’t know there were such things as those light bulbs. We are very fortunate and we so seldom have our electricity go out because most of our lines are buried but it has happened a couple of times since we have lived here (2.5 years).

  8. Glad you are All safe and well. North of us had severe winds/gales and homes without power for up to a week!! Here in the UK we really do not know how to cater for such events. Now they are predicting we will be hit by a snow bomb 2 days after Christmas. Yesterday it was warm and mild , but today the temperature has plummeted , so maybe for once they may get the weather forecast right.
    Take care and stay warm

  9. So glad it wasn’t as bad as they said. The wind howled all night and assorted trampolines, fences and sheds did not fare well here in Owatonna. Blooming Prairie and Claremont both have damage but it was Hartland that took the brunt of it. Main Street is devastated
    No life lost in this area thank heavens.

  10. Glad you were all ok. Lost power last night soon after storm started, none till tomorrow, but when?? Came to my daughter’s near Bassett 48 in house as couldn’t take any longer. Oddly did have power for 4 hrs 4 to 8:15 a.m. tree tops gone out of most of the trees large limbs landed along side my place, mobile home. Felt house shake, a lot. Yard light pole down power lines over my van! Rudd hit hard, 15 miles from us. Too much loose stuff that is all over yards. Tree mess will take lot of work to clean up. Not a good feeling when cant charge phone when gets low!! Oh yes power lines on fire out front and several loud pops exploding from those. Fire truck or trucks & others with flashing lights. Night to be Long remembered!

  11. That was a big, fast moving storm yesterday. We got lots of gusts into the 80s and a couple over 90mph. People here lost power, there’s still a few thousand without power today. We were fortunate, but I know many others were less so.

  12. We live north of Seattle and have had three windstorms already this year. Lost power in all three. Will have to look at getting one of those lanterns. Our flight from Seattle to Denver was delayed yesterday waiting for the storm to quiet down in Denver. Made it to Denver but the wind still blew hard all last night. Crazy weather all over this fall.

  13. Gosh, reading everyone’s comments makes me realise how lucky I am. I live in the UK and thankfully, we don’t get hurricanes or tornadoes. Thinking of you all and hoping you can all stay safe.

  14. So glad that you and your family were not affected by the storms. The wind did blow hard. Thank you for sharing the idea on the lantern and the light bulbs, who knew??? I think both of our kids will be getting some of those items along with us.

  15. AFter seeing the devastatiion in KY and AR, tornados are something to be concerned about. We have hurricanes that hit the gulf coast but we get plenty of warning. Weeks sometimes. Its good to be prepared.

  16. Sensible preparation. With so many things out of our control, preparation is the only thing we can do. Go girls! We need to be ready for both our families and our neighbors. I don’t understand living only for myself, or living in a bubble saying, it won’t effect me.

  17. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Ordered two of the lanterns for my kids in OK and TX and told them to check out the light bulbs!! Thanks for the heads-up!! Sorry Kramer’s family had some damage from the storm, but glad all the people are all right. Another storm rolling through the PNW and western USA, so the next week should see it spread across the northern half of the country.

  18. Thanks Jo, great suggestions! I’ve ordered bulbs and the lantern. We haven’t lost power since we moved to this house two years ago but in July we had tornadoes come through about a mile from our house and do a lot of damage. We rarely have them in Southern NJ and this was the first that left severe damage! So, better to be prepared!

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