Dodging the weather bullet

I hope I don’t come across as bragging, but I dodged a bullet with last week’s storm.

I have a third-floor condo with an east-facing patio, so I wasn’t as concerned about storm damage as most. There was a brief power failure sometime between 12:01 and 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning, but the lights were working when I went to bed, and they worked again when I woke up.

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It was hard getting to sleep that night, but that was because of the howling winds, and not because of anxiety over property damage.

I didn’t have prolonged power failures, property damage, fallen branches in my yard or trees laying on my vehicle.

When I look at the photos that people submitted to the Mercury through email or through our Facebook page, it makes me feel fortunate.

My guess is the insurance companies are going to be very busy in the coming weeks, and that this will be one of the most costly winter storms in southeast in a long time.

A storm like that also reminds us about the importance of line crews and other SaskPower employees who were out in the adverse conditions, trying to restore power while coping with frightening wind speeds.

Everyone knew that a storm of some sort was coming last week. We just didn’t know how strong the winds would be, how much snow we would get, or how widespread the damage would be.

For those of us in the southeast, we didn’t get much snow (we’ve said that before this winter), but we had powerful winds and significant damage.

Other areas suffered an even harder hit.

As the storm tracked across the province, stalking the different communities in its path, you saw reports of power failures throughout Saskatchewan. In some cases, it was noted that the power wouldn’t be restored until the storm passed and the winds died down. After all, not only are these SaskPower employees concerned about restoring power, they’re going to be worried about their own health.

You would hope nobody complained about the efforts of the SaskPower crews. If anyone was legitimately ticked off, then maybe they should try working in those incredibly strong winds, and simulating the struggles of trying to get the lights back on.

(It might make for a really cool simulator for an open house once we’re able to have events again. Experience just how tough it is to restore power in the dark when a powerful wind is blowing in your face).

Some people were without power on Wednesday and/or Thursday night. Others, including some in Weyburn, didn’t get their power back until late Friday or even Saturday.

SaskPower workers don’t always get the respect they deserve. Sometimes it takes a terrible tragedy, like we saw in Weyburn in October when two were killed in a workplace accident, for them to receive that respect.

But in most instances, we’ll save our appreciation for them when they’re out working tirelessly during or after a storm, trying to restore power so our electronics and appliances can work again.

And those expressions of support will eventually fade, and the employees resume doing their job in relative obscurity, only receiving kudos when they’re out responding to the next storm.

It’s like a lot of jobs: you appreciate them when you need them, but most of the time, you’re preoccupied with other things.

You don’t become a line crew because you’re looking for praise and adulation. You go out and do your job, and go home at the end of the shift. And then you go out and do your job the following day, hoping that you don’t have to encounter that big power failure.

Occasionally, you’ll be in that situation in which people choose to applaud you for a job well done.

Thanks to the challenges associated with the job, it’s one that a lot of people couldn’t do. I’m one of them. The only thing I would bring to the table is a voice that carries – great for communicating in tough situations.

We’re thankful for those who restored our power last week, regardless of whether we were without electricity for a short period of time (like me) or if you were without power for much longer, in the midst of January, when you want to have heat keeping your home warm.

Hopefully, everybody knows how lucky we were to have those who were willing to risk their health amid such a powerful storm.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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