General Question

flip86's avatar

What is the longest you have been without power?

Asked by flip86 (6172points) December 25th, 2013

I’m sure you heard that Maine just suffered through an ice storm. It started on Saturday night and lasted into Monday afternoon.

I lost my power Monday night at 6 and got it back today at about 1 pm. This is the longest I’ve ever been without power as an adult. It was stressful as hell.

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49 Answers

snowberry's avatar

About 5 or 6 days. We had a huge storm that wiped out power lines all over the place. We were not #1 on anyone’s list.

talljasperman's avatar

2 days, the fire alarm doesn’t seen the firetrucks right away.

downtide's avatar

I don’t think I’ve ever lost power for more than 24 hours. But I remember when I was very young, we had regular blackouts due to general strikes in the early 1970s. I remember helping my mum prepare dinner by candle-light and thinking it was a great adventure.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Never been more than 4 or 5 hours, now a question for you, if you have a house and it’s the middle of winter what the heck can you do to keep the pipes from freezing?

snowberry's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Turn the water on in both hot and cold taps just a little bit out of every faucet. Keep the water flowing all the time. If your sink is against an outside wall, open the cupboard under the sink, remove most of the stuff so air can flow, and leave the doors wide open. This will allow air flow and help prevent freezing of your pipes. If you live in a trailer, bales of hay pushed up against the pipes will help insulate too.

longgone's avatar

Half an hour.

Yanaba's avatar

A week or 9 days, during the ice storm of 1998 in Ontario…and we were in a major city.

It was an adventure for me as a teenager, but I’m just lucky my father was raised on a farm and we had an old log-burner still installed in the basement. It might have been used a handful of times in the previous ten years, maximum. I remember curling up in a chair in the basement with the whole family of 7 in the one room, the stove on, and water boiling on the top of the casing in a pot because my father said we’d all feel warmer if the humidity was kept high. At the same time the evergreen trees outside were bowed all the way over with their tips iced to the ground, all of them, and the snow kept coming down, threatening to get higher than our windows there. I don’t remember what we ate but it must have been tinned food made in pots also…must have been stressful for my parents. I just remember managing to read all of Pride and Prejudice for the first time because there was nothing else to do.

Also, I know a lot of our neighbours had big problems, snow filled the roads and a thick layer of ice covered everything, and there were people who died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to running generators or camping stoves indoors. Really unsafe but I guess they didn’t think they had a choice.

Coloma's avatar

5 days once years ago after a major snowstorm.
The last time was in Dec. 2009 where my foothill community that sees maybe a couple of 4–6 inch snow falls a year saw a foot and a half or more. It was a wild few days, nobody could get to their houses up all the hills and it was chaos. Melted snow for instant coffee, ate weird stuff like old raisins and popcorn, read by oil lamp and had about 7 blankets on the bed with the cats stuffed under them.

It was an adventure! haha

Had a pretty good snow here around the Dec.1st that stayed for the better part of 2 weeks, but no power outage. Yay!

gailcalled's avatar

6 grim days one winter. The fire department distributed large containers of drinking water and dry ice daily. I used my wood-burning stove and slept a lot.

I make sure during the cold months to keep my gas tank ½ filled so I can function if the pumps in town don’t work, I keep a bath tub filled with water for the twice-daily flush and I have one corded phone, and a Tony Soprano wad of cash (well, not quite) tucked away. I routinely keep some canned goods that I can eat cold w. a spoon, if needs must. I also have a gas stove top.

Last year my B-I-L and sis installed a serious generator so I can run over there and have a quick shower and a hot meal.

dxs's avatar

About a week. There was a really bad snowstorm. It was recent…I think it was just last year. We had to re-stock our refrigerator completely and had to go to McDonalds to get internet and and electricity to power our computers. I can’t remember what we did to clean ourselves.

gailcalled's avatar

It is amazing how clean you can be with a cup of water for brushing and a small bowl for the French bath. That’s why I fill a bath tub.

At this time of year, I get up each morning and ask myself what I would do if I knew the power would be off later in the day. That means extra laundry and extra quick showers and shampoo more often than I might in the nicer weather.

tedibear's avatar

Four days in May. We had a big wind and rainstorm come through. Luckily, we had our small generator at the time so no food spoiled in the refrigerator, the well and septic worked, the garage door openers functioned, and we had use of a couple of outlets on the front wall inside the house. As we’re not in a heavily populated area, we are low on the list for power return.

We now have a whole house generator that is connected to the natural gas. The longest we have used it in 2 years is 2 hours.

dxs's avatar

Only one neighbor in the audible radius of my house had a generator and it was SOOOOOOOO loud and obnoxious. They kept it running 24/7; all through the night. Insult to injury perhaps.

tedibear's avatar

@dxs Everyone here has them. You don’t notice after a while. But I’m sorry you went through that because yes, they can get annoying.

flip86's avatar

@Yanaba I was around for the ice storm of ‘98 as well, in Brunswick, Maine. I was 14. I lived in a group home and the power was out for more than a week. I don’t really count that as losing power though, because I wasn’t inconvenienced. About 6 hours after the power went out the group home put us up in a hotel for the whole week. It was like a vacation and I had a ton of fun. I’m probably one of the few people who can look back on that storm fondly.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ I’m probably one of the few people who can look back on that storm fondly.

You can say that again.

Coloma's avatar

I love big storms, my only issue has been worrying about trees falling on my cars or houses over the years.. haha

hearkat's avatar

We lost ours for about a little over a day after SuperStorm Sandy – we had power through the storm and for a few days after, but it went out over the following weekend. We had hot water gas for the stove, so we kept a pot of water at a low boil on the stove and layered up 4 quilts on the bed for the night. Luckily the power came back on in time for us to get ready for work on Monday morning.

JLeslie's avatar

8 days after hurricane Wilma.

ragingloli's avatar

A few hours at most.

glacial's avatar

Eight days. A huge ice storm hit my city many years ago. At least the apartment I was living in at the time had a fireplace! We kept food on our (thankfully closed in) back balcony. We could all see our breath indoors; it was a long week.

Yanaba's avatar

@flip86 Ah, it sounds like we are around the same age and so it is easier for us to look at the situation as having been fun ;). I guess the hotel had power then? Very nice!

I do have fond memories as well, but looking at it now from the perspective of adults with 4 young kids, it’s like “jeez.” I’d be very stressed in the same situation. Part of that is due to the fact that we couldn’t leave our houses because the snow and ice were too high, we had to keep clearing the windows because if snow gets too high there’s a risk of suffocation (not really in our house though thankfully) and the army was called in because no one including the hospitals had power without generators. I think they did evacuate some of the hospitals but the roads were literally completely impassable, 75%+ of trees were down, cars crushed, things coated in four inches of ice, and in some neighbourhoods people skated on the roads with ice skates. It was ridiculous now that I think of it :) And very beautiful. If I’d been a photographer then it would have been heaven, though in a dangerous way…

I know my little brother enjoyed being tasked by my father with a very. serious. job.: go outside the basement windows (we’d watch to make sure he was ok), and baseball-swing the tips of the evergreens that were frozen to the ground with a big stick, over and over to try to free them from the ice sheet on the ground. He was little enough that this was super exciting and we’d all cheer when after half an hour a tree would be liberated from the ice and fling itself up to about a 60 degree angle upright. Good times :)

Seek's avatar

Two months, when I was ten or so. That’s when I learned how to cook over a fire.

jerv's avatar

About 11 days, after the Ice Storm of ‘08.

Living out in the middle of the woods of NH with no power…. which meant no blower for our propane heater (thus no heat) or pump for our well (no water). Fortunately, the way our place was set up, it was a cinch to drain the plumbing to avoid cracked pipes. Still, waking up and finding it’s 33F in your house gets kind of frustrating after about the third day.

keobooks's avatar

When hurricane Charlie hit, I was out of power for about two weeks. Then Francis hit and it was another two weeks. My office still had power and as it was a boarding school, it also had showers and hot water. So my coworkers and I had lots of meals and bathed at work for a while.

marinelife's avatar

Three very long days out at the end of a peninsula on Whidbey Island with nothing but a wood stove.

flip86's avatar

@Yanaba This time, losing the power was no fun at all. Central Maine Power wouldn’t even give an estimate on restoration. When it first went down they said it could be as long as Friday. That is all they would say. I was so stressed out thinking I’d have no power for that long. Worried about my 3 year old. Worried about my neighbors(most of them are elderly). I thought my food would go bad so I packed up the frozen stuff and put it in the trunk of my car.

Luckily my girlfriend’s mother had power so we spent Christmas eve at her house. Nobody likes staying with their in-laws. Especially when they are stressed out. If it wasn’t for my daughter, I would have toughed it out in my apartment.

The other thing that made this bad, was my job. I work at Hannaford and they lost power too. They don’t have backup power for refridgeration and they had to waste ALL of their refrigerated products. The produce, dairy, meat, frozen food. It was terrible. I had to help them remove all the product and watch as they wasted all that food. They filled two huge dumpsters.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

8 days after Hurricane Gloria in 1986, my street was one of the last because we had so many trees down and all the trees had to be removed from the wires before they could restore power, we were on a well and had to truck water by 5 gallon containers for the whole time.

ccrow's avatar

2 weeks, ice storm of ‘98. Then, after power was restored, a well truck took out the power line we were on and it was out for, I forget, 3 or 4 more days. I’m in Maine too, but this last one really wasn’t too bad where I am. Some icing but nothing crazy.

syz's avatar

9 days after an ice storm. Sucked.

mrentropy's avatar

About a week. The day that the then-wife and I decided to go to the grocery store (which was right down the street and had power) and got a whole bunch of ice to pack in the fridge and freezer. When we got home with all the ice we saw that power was on.

flip86's avatar

@ccrow I’m in Kennebec county. I think we got the worst of it.

Pachy's avatar

48 hours during the so-called Great Northeast Blackout of November 1965. That’s a pretty short time compared to other experiences in this thread, but in Manhattan with no subways, trains, or lights and heat at work or in my apartment, it was plenty long enough for me.

janbb's avatar

12 days after Hurricane Sandy. It was a terrible time in my life for many reasons.

AshLeigh's avatar

Eight days.

Rops's avatar

I had experiences of 5 to 6 hours power break during summer season last year. It was terrible.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The power was out for 3 days during an ice storm.
But within one hour I had the generator going, a fire in the wood burning stove and my sump pump running on battery backup.
I ran the generator every couple of hours to keep the refrigerator and freezer cold. The wood burner kept the rest of the house warm.
I could go for a long time without power.

ccrow's avatar

@flip86 I’m in York county:-)

Wealthadvisor's avatar

24 hours. But never again. Last year we had a whole house generator installed. It provides power to the hot water tank, refrigerator, lighting, microwave, and security lighting. It does not run the furnace, but we have a natural gas fireplace with heat-a-lator. When running on high it will heat the downstairs to 75 degrees, and the upstairs to 65. We also have a gas stove. In the summer it will not run the AC, but we have a large portable AC unit that can cool the downstairs to 70 degrees.

Now if the power goes out, the only thing we are unable to do is run the washer or dryer.

We decided a few years ago to budget for a whole house generator. Our safety is of the utmost importance. It has become more evident in this day and age that the power infrastructure is not as dependable as it once was during bad storms.

glacial's avatar

There have been a number of deaths over the past week due to carbon monoxide leaking from gas generators – for those who are considering having these as backups, please make sure you are using the appropriate kind and do it safely!

JLeslie's avatar

@glacial Leaking? Or, people doing ignorant things and bringing generators and heaters in closed spaces that are supposed to only be run outside? Usually, in FL, when we hear about generator related deaths they have been people not understanding the dangers of generators, not that the generator was faulty. I don’t see how people don’t have a monoxide alarm in their houses to begin with? You would think it would be a building code, especially in houses with gas lines, but I guess it isn’t.

Seek's avatar

^ Usually the Floridian idiots are running petrol generators during a hurricane, and assume that, surely, the garage isn’t ACTUALLY part of the house, and it’s not like you can put the generator outside when it’s raining and blowing 75 MPH outside.

glacial's avatar

@JLeslie “Leaking? Or, people doing ignorant things and bringing generators and heaters in closed spaces that are supposed to only be run outside?”

Does it matter? My warning was meant to address both possibilities. The headlines often use the word “leak”, which in these stories sometimes means a fault in the machine, and other times means the movement of gas from one room to another (as in the example @Seek_Kolinahr gave).

My point is… again… “please make sure you are using the appropriate kind and do it safely.”

JLeslie's avatar

@glacial what @Seek_Kolinahr said is exactly right. I just worry that people buy a brand new generator, assume it is in perfect working order, and put it inside, including the garage as inside. People don’t read directions or warnings. I rarely hear that a generator was faulty and caused carbon monoxide poisoning, it usually is the person put the generator in an unsafe place “in” the house. But, I appreciate your point to be careful and take all safety measures. We have a lot of fires after hurricanes from candles too. Regular ol’ simple candles. I have hurricane lamps, candles set down inside glass, and I pretty much never ever use tall skinny candles that can tip or have a flame high up (except my menorah which I put aluminum foil under and pretty much stay in the room it is lit when I light it. Also, people should not go to sleep with candles lit in my opinion.

I have a wind up radio flashlight thingy that is great and always works, no batteries required.

Florida we have the advantage of warm weather after storms. It can be miserably hot, but it is much much better than freezing in the winter, although the food stays good outside in the snow.

ccrow's avatar

After ‘98, we got a diesel generator- it’s freestanding, entirely outside house/garage, and comes on automatically when power goes out. It’s very nice to have, especially since we are on the end of the our line and sometimes have the errant pine tree dropping on the lines.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

4 days in 93’. Did not miss it much.

spykenij's avatar

4 whole days! Bad, bad ice storm that left over an inch thick layer of ice on and around everything. This was back around Xmas 2003 I think. Canal Winchester, OH.

cazzie's avatar

You guys are talking about ‘involuntarily’ without power? The power has been out in my home for perhaps 12 hours in a row at the most. We just had a hurricane a few weeks ago, and it was rather horrifying because I wasn’t home with my son and I had to rely on neighbours to look after him until I could get home. I can cope for days without power at our cabin, which I voluntarily and gladly go to. No plumbing. No power. No drive way. It takes a 45 minute walk up the mountain (or ski if in the snowy months). I would gladly stay there for a week or so, but I’d prefer to have horse tethered outside for the occasional trip up and down the mountain, rather than skis (getting too old of skiing).

bolwerk's avatar

I lost power for a week thanks to 9/11.

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