Storm Prep

When a thunderstorm forms up north of here and spreads out over the canyon, it usually ends up being pretty severe. One is building as I write. When it releases its moisture it may come down at a slant and accompanying lightning will be close with thunder instant and deafening. It pays to be prepared for these sort of storms, a lesson I learned the hard way.

Several years ago a pair of storms like this one produced a lot of lightning with a strike from each storm hitting the solar power system. Fortunately all of the DC breakers I had installed that were supposed to trip did, and the ground bindings and lightning arrestors soaked up sufficient initial burst current to prevent damage to critical components. I was impressed (thank you Midnite Solar!). Two years later the generator failed, possibly from lightning-strike related damage. Hard to tell, but bad news no matter the how and why. Without a generator I couldn't pump the water well to fill the cistern. Without water, I would not be able to survive. I had to do something fast. Luckily I had just completely filled the cistern before the generator conked out. This was in late January so after Googling around for the nearest place I could get a new generator I found I would have to wait a full month for them to get it in stock. This turned out to be a good thing because I was forced to go into extreme water rationing mode to make 500 gallons last a full month. I had always wondered how long I could last on one cistern full if I had to. Succeeding at this exercise in water use frugality, I then had to make a run through a moderate blizzard at the end of February north to Raton to pick up the generator. I was still feeling weak recovering from a bout with influenza, and it was a harrowing experience, but I made it up to Raton and back through the steadily developing blizzard okay and installed the new generator the next day without any complications. It's still working fine three years later and I learned my lesson to be more prepared for such emergencies. A second one of identical make and model sits in storage still in the box, ready for use if this sort of thing ever happens again.


Thunder is nearer now. The storm is about to begin.