Saturday, July 7, 2012

Poor AT&T service was biggest outrage from June power outage

One of the hazards of living in leafy suburbs in the Midwest and East Coast is that you have to put up with occasional power outages when storms knock down trees and power lines.
I’ve endured days-long power outages living in Illinois, Connecticut and Virginia in recent years. One thing I could always count on in the past was cell phone service continuing to work even though I had no power at home. 
But the June 29 derecho storm that hammered the D.C. metropolitan area also took out the AT&T wireless service where we live in Vienna, Va. It was three or four days before my wife and I could make mobile calls from our home after we lost power.
Thank God we didn’t have a medical emergency. We would have had no way to call for help, except to find a neighbor with Verizon service, which was not affected by the storm.

Photo: The top of the big tree in our front yard was torn off in the June 29 storm.

News stories from the storm:

Timeline of derecho that hit Friday (WTOP; July 4, 2012)

Dominion Restores Power to Approximately 600,000 Customers, Sets Targets for Completing Restoration Efforts (Dominion Virginia Power press release; July 1, 2012)

My Twitter posts during the power outage:

Big thunderstorm in Fairfax County, Va. Power has gone out. (10:40 p.m. Friday June 29)

AT&T wireless down for most of day after storm Friday. Getting 0-2 bars out of 5 now in Vienna, Va. (June 30)

84 degrees at 10 p.m. now, 24 hours after power went out. High of 95 today. Movie theater in Sterling, Va., open. Took kids to see Brave. (June 30)

Expected to be multi-day power outage. Shades of New Canaan, Conn. We lost the top of our big tree in front yard from storm. (June 30)

Can’t access Twitter or Facebook on PC Web browser at Wi-Fi hotspot in Tysons Corner, Va. Am I alone here? Storm related? (July 1)

Day 2 of no power in D.C. area. Feels like apocalypse light. Radio said Reston, Va., library open. Wasn’t. Like Ft. Benning on Walking Dead. (July 1)

Two radio stations working yesterday are static today. Rock station 101.1 and pop station 99.5 off line. (July 1)

First, reports of flesh-eating crazies on East Coast. Now, power out and some broadcast stations going offline. Some websites failing. (July 1)

Maybe this East Coast blackout is a clever promotion for J.J. Abrams’ new post-apocalyptic TV drama Revolution. (July 1)

In a state of emergency, like Virginia now, you can’t count on AT&T. Little or no coverage in Vienna-Great Falls-Reston area last 2 days. (July 1)

Dominion expects to restore power to 90-95% of customers by Thurs. night. I’ll bet I’m in the 5-10% who miss the cut. (July 2)

Thank God garbage pickup is tomorrow. We emptied out two fridges of spoiled food and it’s starting to reek. (July 2)

Day four without power. So tired of this. (July 2)

Power finally back on after 4 days. Will take a while for the house to cool down. Also, another storm front moving in. Fingers crossed. (8:41 p.m. Tuesday July 3)

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