Woof! What a day.
Checking the weather this morning they said we might have some bad stuff rolling in storm-wise. Then the further along in the day, the worse it got. By the time I left for work we were under a tornado watch and a severe thunderstorm warning until 9pm this evening.
I was out on A-yard in the Fireman's place, as he is in training.
All afternoon we kept watching the skies, waiting to see if it was coming. When I looked out across the yard at least half the people I saw, staff and inmates both, were watching the skies.\
About 6:30 it started getting dark and nasty looking. At 6:45 I saw the first lightning strike. The guy from the gym called and closed up early and went home. At 7:00 I went up to the chapel and told the Chaplain there he might want to wrap it up early. He said he would be done by 7:30 which is about half an hour early for him.
At 7:10 the Captain closed the yards.
At 7:15 they came over the radio and said hold all movement.
We got permission to clear the chapel and got them all out at 7:25.
At 7:30 they came over the radio again and said that all the wings were closed and for all staff to seek immediate shelter. We were all going into 1 house and I trotted down to the shack to get my coat and lunchbox, as it looked like we were going to be there for awhile. As I passed A-wing, some mouthy little punk yelled out his window.
"Man, they is all scared of a little lightning! Look at 'em all runnin' inside!"
I looked up at his window and said "Tell you what, d*ckhead. Stick your tongue out the window and see what happens, fool!"
At 7:40 the snit hit the fan. Massive lightning, rain and high winds. It was raining and blowing so hard we couldn't see the fence in front of the house, only about twenty yards away. Spectacular lightning show, when we could see it. A little bit of hail now and then.
I don't think we got a tornado, but it was freaking close enough.
Sometime during the middle of all this we lost half of our power grid. No power in control center, 25 house or main production. Fortunately main production had already shut down for the evening. The 25 house generator kicked on but for some reason one whole wing stayed completely dark.
And you just cannot leave an entire wing of sex offenders in an open wing house alone in the dark together. That's just asking for trouble.
So as soon as there was the slightest lull in the storm they sent as many officers as they could spare down there with flashlights to patrol the dark wing.
They went out in search of battery operated lanterns for the dark areas. We had lots of them from the last big power outage. But someone had gone around a couple of months ago and gathered them all up.
Where were they? Locked in a closet in the Business Office in the Admin building. One of the few places we don't have keys for. Lot of good they are doing us there.
So the Captain calls the Warden who says call the head of the Business Office and get him in there. And when she gets him on the phone he says "I'm on vacation, you know!"
To which she replies "I don't care. Get in here and get me those lanterns."
Dude comes in and he's all pissed off and even doubly pissed off because by the time he gets in to get us the lanterns the power is back on. But we get the lanterns anyway and take them back to central so we can have access to them in case of emergency. And he was pissed off about that too, but too bad for him.
So it was an exciting night. But we survived intact. Nobody got hurt and nobody escaped. All we got was a little wet. I can live with that, I think.
So Wednesday is Look Alike Day. That could be bad news. It's also Make A Quilt Day, and National Pot Smokers Day. Combining those two could prove to be entertaining, I'm sure.
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