How Long Could You Stand a Power Outage?

If you lost electricity because of some kind of natural disaster, how long could you stand living in a longterm power outage?

For those of us who appear to be in the path of massive Hurricane Irma, which has become the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic before reaching the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico measured since record-keeping began, the potential of losing power is just one of many concerns on our minds right now.

When Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the Charleston area last October, it was a Category 1 hurricane.

The most recent computer models I’ve seen suggest that if Hurricane Irma, which is currently a Category 5, reaches South Carolina, it will probably be a Category 3.

I’m not looking forward to that, friends.

Not even a little bit.

I hate being without power. Call me soft, call me consumed with “first-world problems.” But I’m the guy who’ll walk into every room during a power outage — when I know the power is, indeed, out — and still reflexively flip the light switch. Yes, I’m aware it’ll do no good, but reflexes kick in faster than I can stop myself and I immediately feel like an idiot for flipping that switch when I already know it’ll accomplish nothing.

And when it’s hot outside, not having power inside can make life far less than comfortable.

When Matthew struck, I was without power for two days or so. And yes, that nearly drove me crazy.

Now I sit here, pondering what the near future holds with this ridiculous storm, and read about the impact in Puerto Rico…and all of a sudden, I’m almost ashamed of the fact that two days in the dark caused so much stress.

Time reported Wednesday that a economic crisis had already done a number on the territory’s infrastructure, including its public power company. That failing infrastructure was well in place before Hurricane Irma arrived.

But it certainly didn’t help matters.

And now, the utility’s director says some areas of Puerto Rico could be in the dark for between four and six months.

How do you go without power for half a year? Yes, I do realize, thank you very much, how fortunate and privileged I sound to ask such a question. But the question, I think, is still a valid one.

How can an infrastructure, in the 21st century, become so deteriorated that a hurricane can come along and cause a power crisis that could leave residents without electricity for up to six months?

I can’t fathom it.

And I’m not afraid to admit that I’m glad I can’t fathom it.

I just wish no one else had to live through something like that.

The next time you flip a light switch or turn on a television — or a computer, for that matter — stop and think for a minute how lucky you are.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.