We got a taste of winter early today. We got about 2 inches of wet, heavy snow here in Lockport this morning. Buffalo got a lot more.

It didn’t look too bad this morning at 7:00am when the school called to tell my wife that school was cancelled. But it turned out to be a good thing they were cautious. As the morning went on and the snow kept falling, the tree branches kept hanging lower and lower. By 10:00am, a lot of branches were broken and a large percentage of the city was without power. Even the local radio station, WLVL, went off the air.

It wasn’t entirely a surprise. The weather people said it was coming last night. For once they were right.

We were without power for about 14 hours, not counting the 15 seconds or so in the afternoon it tried to come back on. By evening, I had opened up the camper and got out a propane lantern so we could have some light. We have a gas stove, so cooking some food kept the chill off.

We spent the evening in the kitchen. Bobbi, my wife and the kids, played Monopoly by candlelight. The only entertainment we had was a small radio that I plugged a set of battery-operated computer speakers into. It received TV as well as radio, so we listened to Deal or No Deal. No picture is really needed for that show!

I spent a lot of the afternoon listening to some podcasts. I had some on my MP3 playeer and a few more on my laptop. I ran the batteries on both pretty low. I listened to out local AM station once in a while, when it was on the air, for news. There waasn’t a lot. Most of the time, they play some syndicated conservative political crap call-in show that just about turned my stomach.

I reached one conclusion. Without electricity, my life is pretty boring. No TV. No internet. I couldn’t even work on my podcast on the laptop because all the audio files were on a USB hard drive that only runs on AC power. I listened to about 6 hours of podcasts, some Roots Rock Radio, some Cranky Geeks, some TWIT before I ran out of material and batteries.

They say everyone should have some emeergency supplies for situations like this. We did okay. I could have fired up the generator, but I didn’t think we’d be off the grid that long. If we got to the next morning, I’d consider it to run the furnace and refrigerators for a hour or two. Fortunately, the temperature wan’t that low and getting cold wasn’t much of a concern. But I do have one suggestion for something to add to an emergency kit: a couple good books!

About 8pm, I took a walk out in the neighborhood. By then, the next street in each direction had power. It seemed like we were the only ones left out. A truck had come down the street earlier in the afternoon and they stopped a couple places and went up in the bucket to do something. Then they went away. I saw flashing lights on the next street over, so I walked around to see what was going on. Although they had power, they seemed to be in worse shape. A lot more and larger branches were down and several houses had their services ripped off the outside of their house. I stopped and talked to a guy who was working out of a white power company van. All they were doing was roping off the area with yellow caution tape. He said he was out of the Rochester area and they had worked in Lancaster that morning. They did all they could do there and then were sent up here.