Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Vision, Part I, Blackout!

Blackout!

It had been an extremely hot summer season here in the North Country, as well as for the entire nation. Business as usual went on though, day after day through the sweltering heat. According to news reports, the heat wave was so severe demand for electricity was actually exceeding supply in many parts of the country. Once again California and other parts out West were experiencing "rolling blackouts" in an attempt to distribute available power. Even parts of Texas were experiencing rolling blackouts from time to time. While the North and East Coast regions were experiencing flickering and sometimes dimming of the lights, now and then. These "brownouts" seemed like they were becoming more and more common, lasting longer in duration. Climate Change was the talk everywhere as temperatures soared 10 to 15 degrees above normal.

It was reported on the news daily, just how world wide this heat wave really was and that this country was one of the better ones coping with it. Horrific stories were constantly being reported about countries that were fairing far worse, many had lost electricity completely. To make matters worse, a very large hurricane was building strength and was expected to land on the Southeast Coast of the country, within the next day. The bulk of the news was heat related and stories ranged from those expiring usually the elderly, to ways of keeping your pets cool. Following up every newscast was a plea for people to conserve on electrical energy. Mostly by controlling use of air conditioning, however this was extremely hard to do with temperatures soaring into the 100 degree range for most of the country.

This evening while watching the news, it was announced that almost all of the Western Interconnection Network had gone down, leaving millions of people without power. All 14 grids in California had failed! People there had been urged to stay put and to stay calm as the power was expected to be restored soon.

The next day while working in the blazing sun, the Category 5 hurricane was dominating the news coverage on the radio. It was pounding the East Coast and moving it's way inland along the Gulf states towards Texas. It wasn't long before the music stopped and that's all they were talking about, kind of like when 9/11 happened. Apparently, Atlanta had been hit very hard and people were doing all they could to get out of the way of the storm's path. "Sketchy" reports were also coming in that the California situation hadn't improved, that now almost all the Western states had blackout. By now the condition was now spreading to many parts of the much smaller Texas Interconnection Network, putting even more people without power. Then, it was back to coverage of the hurricane.

I'll admit I was getting a little scared at that point and decided to go back into the plant to cool off. As soon as I walked through the doorway, I noticed the lights were flickering and dimming. Worse yet, the huge electrical saw motors were surging! I immediately ran over to shut them down and threw the switch disconnecting them for the plants power. I proceeded to shut down the entire operation and sent the workers home. There was not much complaining as they too, wanted to go home after listening to what was happening over the radio. Almost surreal, my instincts were telling me something horrible was happening now.

There was no greeting of the usual hum of air conditioners when I arrived home. Instead my wife greeted me at the door, informing me that the power had gone completely out. Turning right around, I made my way to the generator house and within minutes, power had been restored to the house.

At noon the news came on and a visibly shaken newscaster told us that the station was on reserve power. Apparently the whole State had lost power, including surrounding states and most of Canada. They had no idea of how long it would take before the power would be back on line but to be patient and hopefully it would be restored soon. The hurricane was reported as the largest ever that had reached the mainland and reports were becoming sketchy, as the power had been lost for the entire Southern region of the nation. The President was to address the American people the status of the situation in the South at seven o'clock, right after the national news.

At seven o'clock, a very tired and distressed President began her address from the Oval Office. She started out describing the enormity of the hurricane and how it's powerful force had devastated Atlanta. The largest hurricane ever recorded to reach inland had apparently wrecked havoc across the entire Gulf state region and the assessment of the damage would begin tomorrow. There were no estimates in the loss of human life at the time. She regretted to inform everyone that the entire North American continent had temporarily lost power. Due to the catastrophic damage the hurricane had left in the South and the deteriorating condition the Western system was already in, engineers could not act fast enough before the entire system went down or was deliberately shut down to prevent further damage. She believed that this outage would only be a temporary condition and that some portions of the system would soon be back on line. The President then took a deep breath and further explained she was declaring a State of National Emergency and Martial Law was enacted. She would be ordering all armed forces back to the U.S. immediately and for all National Guardsmen to report for duty.

After regaining her composure, the President reassured the American people that Homeland Security was prepared and would soon be working with State and local officials. She was closing all ports of entry into the country for the time being. She suggested that everyone should stay put and remain calm. To cooperate with federal, state and local officials in the task of getting life back to normal as can be. But for now, to remain hopeful and upbeat in making an unpleasant situation the best it could be. Again, she repeated to stay put for now and wait for the power to be restored or when help arrives.

My wife and I, just stared at each other in a daze when that silly sitcom came on right after the address...

8 comments:

FARfetched said...

Heh, nice touch there at the end — hurricane whacks Atlanta, the entire grid goes down, the prez speaks to what bits of the nation can tune in — then they go back to the sitcom. LOL!

I plugged this story on my blog. I hope you get a few of my readers coming over and checking it out.

yooper said...

Thanks for the encouragement Far! I've borrowed you're aspect of using yourself and family, like ou did in "FAR Future".
Rest assured, that will be it for the comedy, as this story is a heart breaker. A real tear jerker. At the end, there is a ray of sunshine for those who will only follow it.

Thanks, yooper

yooper said...

Perhaps, a point of interest here, the first part of this story was very hard for me to put across. I kept going down trails that would lead one to think this collapse might be controlled. I do have an alternate, first part. I have never thought of collapse as coming by a controlled matter. Furthermore, I despise such notions. However, I caught myself going down two of these trails, only to back up and find the trail I've presented here.

Thanks, yooper

FARfetched said...

Yes, that is interesting.

Sometimes, you need to let the story tell itself — at its best, you're just transcribing an email from the Great Beyond. But sometimes (and this sounds like the case), you need to keep control and tell the story because you have a point you want to get across.

I saw you put yourself down at JMG's. Don't. You already know how to tell the story, and that's the important part. The writing skills will continue to develop if you continue writing.

yooper said...

Thanks Far! I've left the door open, so to speak for a certain individual.

Far, it's like a pin prick to heart. My message comes just too close, it hurts. Even my own folks didn't want to hear it, however they thought it only prudent to continue my education along this line. Enough to even move to another area for me to obtain more of it. I have to be careful around my wife, as she is incapable of understanding it.

Perhaps, the only way I was able to accept this message was that I was very young when I got it. Not that I didn't buck on it at the time! I wanted to live and experience what life had to offer! It's been a cross I've had to bear for almost 40 years.

I've lived a lot of life in those 40 years and have been the wiser from it. Although I'm certain collapse or decline will come, I certainly don't know when and am not waiting for it to happen.

Anyone who is actually looking foward to this, most certainly is not seeing the same picture that I'm viewing.........

I've been inviting people to the site and I know they've seen it. It's like a pin prick to the heart.......

Thanks Far, yooper

auntiegrav said...

Here's a new site for you:
http://fightincockflyer.blogspot.com/

I didn't read through all of it yet, but it might be useful at times.

I am reading Kunstler's "A World Made By Hand".
Interesting, so far, but not the quality of dialog I expect from Kunstler. The lack of windmills and generators is also too obvious at this point, and I wish people would get over the fascination with horses for power when we can grow oilseeds to feed a small tractor only when you need it..Especially in a depopulated world.

yooper said...

Hey Auntiegrav! I've yet to read this book by Kunstler. Ha! His long view doesn't include everyone, and there have been times when's he suggested collapse would happen very quickly. This usually appears when he's on other sites. He's went to far as to retract some of his comments. He is a professional writer who wants to sell books. There's no point for him to let "the cat out of the bag". None. John Greer, is another one, might as well start the story from the far future and work your way to the present, that way, you keep your readers looking for more....

If this is going to be a long emergency, then of course tractors will continue to play a vital part in the near future as they have in the recent past.

A few months back, I bought a diesel generator(which will run on bio-diesel), which may come in mighty handy. Especially when my farming neighbors will need it to water their crops if the power should become spotty... At least, that's what their telling me that's going to happen. Might as well be prepared...

Thanks, yooper

auntiegrav said...

Hey Yoop,
Send me an email to dconine2000 AT yahoo dot com
I am going to this conference in Grand Rapids next month
http://sustainabilityconference.org/ and I want to do some kind of short talk about Black Swans. I mean the things that might pop up in a semi-stable decline..such as blackouts leading to riots, individual police actions that trigger avalanche effects, government disclosure of secret technology, China developing new energy sources and weapons, etc. ...discuss...