By Gary Cameron
Finishing the last day of a nice Canadian fishing vacation, (in 70 degree temperatures with no humidity I might add), I got “the call” from my wife Joann last Saturday. She had just returned to our Silver Spring, Maryland home of 29 years.
“Bring the generator, and a chainsaw.” Oh, oh, sounded like vacation time was over.
Heading home on Interstate 81 south, I saw plenty of power company trucks from various U.S. states and Canada going in the same direction. Little did I realize that quite a few of those trucks were heading for my very own neighborhood in Montgomery County, Maryland. I stopped for gasoline just over the Pennsylvania-Maryland line to fill up as I wasn’t certain if gasoline pumps were operational in my home area. A man approached, asking if that was a generator on my hitch carrier. He said that they were already sold out regionally and admired my 5300 watts of surge power.
Arriving home a day after a rapid major storm ripped through the mid-west to east coast, I saw what intense wind forces can do to an old neighborhood, circa 1918, and the beautiful, old trees that form a canopy over it. I’ve been through hurricanes on my home street, and covered them nationally; this damage was just as bad. Not Joplin, Missouri bad, but bad nonetheless. Power lines were down everywhere, temperatures were always in the high 90 degree plus range, with intense humidity adding to the heat.
As much as I wanted to cover the story on return, I had to take care of my property first. (Sorry, Tom). The backyard was strewn with limbs, branches, and the garage took a major hit from a branch about 200 feet above. The house and front yard were mostly unscathed, but the power transformer and utility pole in front of my house, which supplies juice to our block was down and in the middle of the street. That’s never happened before. The poles have bent and taken out lines in the past, but never ended up in the street.