For the second time this summer in Annapolis, hail fell from the sky, tapping on our window panes and pinging down against the car roof and hood. Caused by a layer of cold air in our otherwise warm atmosphere, the storm only lasted a few minutes but did substantial damage to my backyard.
A powerful gust of wind caused a tree branch on a neightbor’s tree to snap and fall on to power lines. The positive and negative currents touched and created an arc and sparks started flying. More branches broke off the tree and one started to smoke and then burst into flame.
Luckily our family was home to witness the event. We turned off the circuit breakers in our house and watched from saftey after calling both the fire department and the gas and electric company.
No water can be sprayed on an electric fire because water is a conductor. Always stay far away from any downed power lines. The fire engine arrived and the firemen and firewoman watched the flames as first one branch burned and then another, eventually burning out more wires, until BG&E arrived and shut down all the electricity on our side of the street.
We ate dinner by candlelight. Luckily I have a gas stove and a gas water heater. The night was cool. We endeavored to keep the refrigerator shut because who knows how long it will take to get it all fixed, my husband and I told one another. My daughter Alex was not too happy to be in a dark house so she went around the neighborhood to visit friends who had electricity.
A tree company and BGE returned at 10:00 p.m, and fumbled around in the dark to get the branches cut away from power lines, and the damaged wires repaired. Amazingly our power was restored at midnight.
Now next time I will be better prepared. All the flashlights that need batteries are sitting on my dining room table. I will go to the store this week and buy batteries for each one.
Always keep several flashlights in a handy spot and keep some safety candles on hand as well, because you never know when disaster is going to strike.