Modern Conveniences: a Delicate Balance

This past weekend we had some wintry weather. Over the course of Saturday night and throughout the day Sunday we had rain, snow, and sleet. The rain and snow aren’t a huge problem, but sleet can be. Sleet causes ice to cling to tree branches and with temperatures hovering just below freezing the ice on the branches holds onto rain and snow which combine to weigh down those tree branches.

Heavy tree branches falling on power lines, or causing entire trees to fall onto power lines, resulted in most of northeast Georgia experiencing a loss of electricity at some point between Sunday and Monday. As a matter of fact, even today, on Tuesday, we still know of friends and family who haven’t regained power or who regained power until to then lose it again.

The storm this past weekend wasn’t particularly exceptional. It dropped around six inches of snow, it packed gusty winds, but it wasn’t all that unusual. We get similar storms every couple of years, and every time this happens I’m reminded that modern conveniences exist in a fairly delicate balance.

Humans are masters at manipulating our environment. Our homes keep us cool when it’s hot, warm when it’s cold, dry when it’s raining, and keep us safe for predators and other threats. However, our manipulation of our environment exists in a fairly delicate balance. Look no further than the near meltdown of the electrical grid in Texas last year if you’d like a case in point.

What’s my point? I don’t know. I don’t think I have a point. I’m just feeling humbled. Nature is a powerful force when a rather run-of-the-mill winter storm can bring my county and many surrounding counties to their knees for several days in a row.

Featured photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Modern Conveniences: a Delicate Balance”

  1. It is interesting to see how delicate our infrastructure is. Here in Colorado we had numerous outages when our first big winter storm hit, and it wasn’t that big of a storm. Since we have been living on solar/battery power for 7 years it was a bit of shock to not have any power in the house.

    From reading the Texas power grid debacle it sounds like they still have not addressed the issues that caused the blackouts. Looking into battery and diesel backup solutions doesn’t seem too crazy.

    • I want to get some sort of battery / generator backup for our house at some point. We do also have gas-powered logs in the living room which we realized can be started by battery during a power outage. The only problem is that we needed size C batteries, which we didn’t have, and the roads were icy. Oh well, we’ll have size C batteries next time.

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