Michelle and I sit in our cabin, more than a mile from the nearest road. Daytime highs have been below 14° for a week. A 60 knot storm (69 miles per hour) howls outside. Heavy seas send spray house-high against the rocks of our beach. Our wind generator, fully braked, starts up and furls in the 80 knot gusts. The weather forecast warns of a blizzard in the coming days.
What is our only concern through all this? We’re thinking about our little girl, away at college.
Aly is in the middle of the recent “heavy” snows that have all but shut down the string of cities along Interstate 5 through Washington and Oregon. Her college campus is set in the forest, away from the main urban center.
Her campus officially shut down for snow days on January 18th. No classes, probably no mail delivery, and the food courts are running so low on food that she and her roommate have stopped going down there for meals. Going outside means dodging heavy snow loads from the 10 story buildings and ice-laden tree branches falling on the trails.
On the evening of the 19th, the dorms lost power for a while. The students of Aly’s college are experiencing an urban emergency.
As one would expect from her upbringing, Aly’s doing fine. She and her roommate got up at 4:00 a.m. to gather snow to pack the perishables in their refrigerator. They still had hot water, so they could shower, but with no outside window, their bathroom was dark, so they worked on rigging headlamps to see by. They have at least a week’s worth of personal groceries in the room. And, as required by the college, they each have a “bug out” emergency kit at their disposal. Aly’s is equipped far better than the list the college provided.
Aly’s main complaint is that she can’t go to class.
The only reason she’s at any disadvantage throughout this little adventure is that her surroundings depend on just-in-time delivery of all essentials, particularly power and food. Her current environment depends and operates on the assumption that these will continually arrive in an uninterrupted stream.
Funny, isn’t it?