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This should be titled “Lessons RE-learned after the storm”

But first… What storm? you ask.

I’m talking about the SIX tornadoes that touched down in the Ottawa Valley and neighbouring regions on September 21, 2018. One of them smacked the Hydro station serving thousands of customers in Nepean.

tornadoes cause mass outages

‘We’ve pretty much lost everything’: Homes destroyed as Ottawa-Gatineau

Ottawa Hydro station damaged Sep 21

John Paul Tasker · CBC News · 


It was quite the event. My area of the city lost electricity for 50 hours.

How about you? Were you greatly affected?

We are grateful that it was only electricity that we lost and not our roof, our shelter, our home. Other parts of the region were not so lucky.

If you live in Ottawa and survived the ice storm of ’98, you should have been prepared at least with an emergency preparedness kit : candles. matches, battery powered / wind-up radio, dry goods, water – something to hold you over for the first day or two.

It sure held my household over.

The Canadian Red Cross even sells the kits or gives you a list of items you should include. See http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/emergencies-and-disasters-in-canada/be-ready-emergency-preparedness-and-recovery/get-an-emergency-kit

Finally, that alert ready alarm was right

Prior to the tornadoes hitting our region, we received those annoying alarms on our cell phones. I received them on both my personal cell and work phone.

Land line hold-out still has communication

I was able to communicate by telephone with family who had power at their end of the city, and with two of my adult children who called to check in on me from other provinces.

My cell phone service was working fine – as long as the battery held out.

I was able to follow status updates by listening to the battery powered radio and checking for updates on Twitter and local news websites on my cell.

Lessons learned


One valuable lesson I learned was not to procrastinate with laundry and homework.

The previous weekend was so hot and humid that I couldn’t muster the energy to do laundry. After assessing my closet contents, I figured I had sufficient work wardrobe items to last the next week. It did but my plan of doing laundry on the next weekend was foiled by the loss of power on September 21st.

Luckily, on the Sunday, a kind family member let me do a load at his home, to shower, recharge devices, plus enjoy a hot meal!

As for the homework for the online course I am taking this semester, I should have applied myself to the readings and not gone to see The Bookshop mid-week. I had good intentions to do homework on the weekend of September 22nd.

Well, I couldn’t. I had no power, no home internet to access the required reading. Again, thanks for family and friends, I was able to use their WiFi to access the reading for that week’s lesson. I also sent an email to the course facilitator, asking for an extension. She was understanding and extended the deadline for the entire class by a couple of days.

Cats on living room chairs

A quiet, powerless Caturday September 22nd

The cats were oblivious to the lack of electricity. I knew they’d be okay in the dark because of their night vision.

One annoyance during those two darkened nights was that the old boy would wander and meow from dark corners in the apartment. I had fun getting out of bed to shuffle around, to find that black b@stard and shush him.

On the Saturday night, early Sunday morning, the little b@stard knocked my little flashlight off of my dresser, causing me to crawl on the floor on my hands and knees, feeling around for the thing in the dark.

On the Sunday, I got back into my morning routine of going for a walk around the neighbourhood. The sunrise was colourful but eerie, illuminating the darkened streets.

Sunday Morning Sunrise Sept 23

Sunday Morning Sunrise Sept 23

Will we be ready for the next time?

Environmentalists and climatologists predict that due to climate change, we can expect more of these powerful storms travelling down our valley.

I will be ready as ready can be.

Will you?