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downed power linesJust a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about not being caught off-guard in summer storms. Sometimes I need to learn to take my own advice.

This past Sunday a wicked thunderstorm tore through the Maryland, DC and Virginia area. There were tornado warnings in some areas and, though I don’t think any funnel clouds were actually spotted, the storm left quite a mess to clean up.

I wasn’t the least bit prepared for it. I had no idea storms were in the forecast. I was busy helping a friend move.

By the time I got back home, I found out my house had been without electricity for eight hours. Traffic lights were out everywhere, creating back-ups while police tried to direct traffic at some of the busiest intersections.

As I stumbled up the stairs by the glow from my cell phone screen, I tried to remember where I’d stashed my flashlight. I knew I had one somewhere, but of course when I found it the batteries were almost dead so the light flickered a lot.

Luckily, my power came back on about a half hour later. Being able to run the fans and the air conditioner helped cool the stuffiness and I was lucky that none of the food in my fridge had gone bad.

Several of my friends and coworkers aren’t expecting to get their power back until the end of the week. They’re getting by on candlelight and flashlights and eating most of their meals at restaurants since all the food in their fridges has gone bad.

It’s a crappy situation all around, but stuff like this always reminds me of the importance of being prepared in an emergency. FEMA has a great list of things to keep on hand, just in case, as well as advice on how to put a disaster kit together.

I know I need to find some new batteries for my flashlight. What’s one thing you need to do to be prepared for the next big storm?

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