View from the Cop: Storm tracking

On Monday we saw a bit of windy weather. That’s putting it mildly huh?

I had no clue how bad it was going to be until I got to work and saw that the patrol guys and girls were getting hammered with calls so bad that I forwent the meeting (which was not at all hard to do) I was on the way too and started pulling pine trees out of the road.

I recruited passing motorists (thanks, if you stopped) and we pulled a bunch of older dead trees to the side of the roads. Unfortunately there were a lot of lines down too and I treat them like snakes, so if I see one I stay away from it. I wrapped up trees surrounding lines with yellow tape and went on to the next one.

I think at one point we had over 75 calls holding, meaning all the cars were out and those calls were waiting. Fire department had about the same number since they were hauling chain saws and clearing the roads as well. Georgia Power Company didn’t even want a call asking when they would be out because they were covered up too.
We have a truck and trailer full of barricades and so we placed barricades up where we couldn’t move the trees or where downed lines were but people did their best to go right through. Instead of re-routing—which I know is a pain but—well, they tried to go around and in several cases, got stuck in the soft mud. Do you know how long it takes to get a wrecker when the earth is ending? I saw several of the cars six or so hours later. I was having trouble feeling sorry for them though.

People do help. They stop and they help other people when things are bad. I think we only had one tree fall on a car but no one was hurt. Several houses had damage from trees falling and I saw a ton of near misses. Some have luck and some don’t like the man who was killed in Atlanta when a tree hit his truck and the truck then caught fire. That is about the worst case scenario I can think of about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s sad and bizarre at the same time.

If you had an alarm go off during that mess on Monday, it probably took a while to get an officer to check it. Alarms don’t do well in storms. The lines carry sound or something when there’s wind and rain and it triggers the activation. What happens in times where there’s a big storm is that alarms are grouped by zones or beats and the officer is given five or six at a time and checks them when he or she can. They prioritize calls and alarms, other than panic or armed-robbery-in-progress alarms, are not priority-one calls. A good item you might want to look at if you have an alarm system is a UPS or uninterrupted power supply. It’s great for power surges and perfect for the power that feeds into your alarm. That way, when the storm hits, your alarm feed won’t feel the surge and, in most cases, won’t activate. Detective Sandy and I invested, (right!) invested in a new HD super deluxe television that is about the size of the left side of Vermont. We paid waaayyyy too much—had to sell one of the kids. (I’ll remember his name in a minute—we’ll miss him) but this TV is nothing short of awesome—especially during football season! We have two surge protectors and motion detectors and a guy named “Rocco” who steps forward and tells people to move along when they get too close to it.

Anyway, look into surge protectors. Eighty bucks buys a good quality one. Another thing you might want to look at is the severe-weather radio. Late at night—not Letterman late but really late, when a storm hits, the radio will activate and wake you up. If you don’t think that’s important, watch the morning news after a tornado tears up a town. Nothing but sticks left. If you don’t have an emergency plan then make one—especially if you have small kids. Mine is simple. Get the hell out of the way if you’re between me and my basement bar.

I’m a believer that you should prepare in a way that benefits you. For example, I’ve made it quite clear that when everyone else is going to the store for milk and bread, I’ll be at Mr. Wong’s liquor store where I will be standing in line and glaring at other around me in case they are entertaining thoughts of breaking into it. I’ll be the guy with the Glock.

Of course I only have one child left at home and he’s old enough to hold his own since he lives in the basement and has it made. He’s a teenager therefore we don’t understand him in the least so we avoid him like you would an alien who suddenly arrives in your kitchen and starts eating everything in your fridge.

I’ve posted the emergency evacuation plan on the wall. It’s a cartoon of me running down the stairs screaming. I’m wearing a Viking helmet and carrying a bottle of Crown Royal like a halfback on an off-tackle run. Priorities are important. For you with small kids, go to the lowest point of the home and away from windows. Basements are good and bathrooms are good because they have bathtubs. Lay low and hunker down!

Weather is a crazy thing folks and days like Monday only serve to give you a big ol’ hint that you need a plan if the power goes out, or whatever. Do you have trees that are “iffy” on whether or not they’re dead? Cut them down. If a severe or tornado siren activates then have a plan of what to do and remember above all, if you choose, wisely I might add, to hit the liquor store before the grocery store in case of really bad weather, don’t cut in front of me! I’m serious. Don’t do it.

Folks, Detective Sandy and I are headed to Dallas, Texas for Jimmy Buffett. If you read enough of my stuff then you know that I don’t argue, I just let her have her time and when she’s happy, we’re all happy. Now that I have the Facebook thing, I’ll post the pictures.

For those of you who have posted and written to me on Facebook, be patient because I’m just figuring it out. I’ll get to everyone. I like it and I appreciate all of you who write, post, or whatever the hell you call it but I do like hearing from you!

8 comments Add your comment


April 15th, 2009
12:00 pm

Entertaining as always. Sadly, I replaced the Dodge Ram 2500 diesel with a little 2-seater convertible. I can’t help as much as I used to be able to. But anyone can pretty much stop and drag a branch off the road. Come on people, it’s 45 seconds out of your day.

Have fun in Big D! Nothing them Good Old Texas boys like better than having some fun with grown men wearing grass skirts and coconut shell bras! :)


April 15th, 2009
9:23 pm

Thank you to all, public servants, private servants, and plain old folks who helped. God bless the police especially.


April 16th, 2009
8:32 am

Thanks to Georgia Power for getting my power back on (a little over 24 hours!) and for everyone who cleared the roads and took care of things. Y’all did a great job!

Chris Broe

April 16th, 2009
9:36 am

A tree clobbered my house during the storms. I have Allstate Homeowners Insurance. I will report how smoothly the claims process goes.

The man who has a tree growing in his lungs has filed a storm damage claim with his own insurance company. Apparently the tree in his lungs was knocked over by the storm too, and clobbered his spleen. Now that’s a strong storm!


April 22nd, 2009
1:00 pm

A bottle of Crown Royal..I think I love you..LOL

Spalding Drive homeowner

April 30th, 2009
9:02 pm

So I have a question….storm hits 8:45AM, tree from next door hits car directly blocking road travel both ways. ‘totalled’ car is towed away 10:45, police office arrives at 11:00 am, puts up yellow tape about 1/4 mile down street obviously to deter traffic. I get in my car 11:45AM exiting my driveway away from tree to go take care of some business, i approach yellow tape hoping nice police fellow would raise tape to let me out, but instead i receive a scolding from overzealous, high school looking rookie who says i should not be traveling thru the area. he actually placed his hand on his gun like he was going to shoot the tree out of the way for me. I was astounded. He literally said that he did not know how long it would take to open the road and that we had to stay in our homes until then!! Well the road goes both ways, my friend. learn a little tact and common sense……my new young safety officer. Steve the question is, are we under house arrest when a storm blows through?


May 4th, 2009
11:46 am

A Crown Royal drinker…just another reason that you, sir, are awesome ;)


June 1st, 2009
1:21 pm

Another tip for severe storm safety: If the sirens begin to go off, and your dog howls, howl along with him. He’ll think it’s the Great Big Dog In The Sky (isn’t that the title of a song?), and you don’t want to appear to be a non-believer. Heathen.

As for alarms, even car alarms can be set off by a storm, if the vibration from the thunder is severe enough to cause them to go off. I remember living in an apartment complex a few years back, and whenever it thundered, a few car alarms went off. Of course, this happens if your alarm’s sensitivity is set to “butterfly’s sneeze”.