Hey, what’s more fun that a blistering, suffocating heat wave with several days of record temperatures? Oh, that’s easy: a blistering, suffocating heat wave preceded by a sudden, violent summer storm that knocks out the electricity of almost everybody in town. We haven’t had this many giggles from Mother Nature since the great ice storm of 2008.
You know how they say everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it? Well, this week, everybody talked about the weather and nobody did anything in it, except sit in the dark and sweat.
Many of us learned a new word – “derecho,” from the Spanish word for “straight,” the term used to describe the storm we endured on June 29, with straight-line winds gusting more than 90 mph and doing every bit as much damage as the winds that form into swirly, bouncing tornadoes. Almost every traffic light in town was out, so driving home that evening was a long ordeal, made all the trickier because of the hundreds of trees that were down, many of them across streets.
After the storm, 78,000 customers in Allen County were without power, and estimates were that the losses from the storm – everything from spoiled food to downed utility poles and damaged roofs – would be in the millions. There was $250,000 in damage to streetlights in Fort Wayne alone.
Indiana Michigan Power brought in hundreds of workers from other states to do the massive work of restoring power, and by Wednesday night more than 80 percent of customers had their power back. Before Friday, it was more than 95 percent.
Just in the nick of time. The heat wave that day would push the temperature above 100, again, with lung-blasting humidity on board for the ride.