THE RARE, DESTRUCTIVE DERECHO STORM OF 2012 - 'Fighters And Survivors'


These photos taken on Rt. 16 at Big Springs tell the
story of the Great Derecho of 2012 (Janet Hodge Photos)

Storm June 29,2012

By Bob Weaver

Things are moving back to normal after a rare, destructive "Derecho" wind storm struck the county and 52 other West Virginia counties on June 29.

Winds in the Mountain State recorded from 70 mph to 100 mph in Preston County.

The event did not measure up to the Ice Storm of 2003, but it certainly caused problems, with most of Calhoun residents being without electricity and water and many without phone.

I relearned that the best thing about the storm was neighbor helping neighbor, a trait familiar with people who live in small, rural communities, and that the small dwindling number of dedicated responders and volunteers went the extra mile, working long hours to do what they could do.

I talked with a few power company repairmen, whose companies took a lot of criticism, some due, who worked day and night in some hot as a fritter weather to get the job done.

One was a flatlander, who said, "I can't believe we are carrying some of these poles up these hills over rock cliffs."

Even those of us who live here fail to understand that most of the power and phone lines run through the great forest in which we live.

Our local phone company employees, as always, were dutiful in their efforts, unclear about how much outside help they had.

Former Calhoun resident and Baptist minister Jim Pearson said it best in an e-mail, "I know the people and they are fighters and survivors and they will get through this together."

I relearned that we are a dependent society, now expecting someone else (usually the government) to take care of our problems quickly.

That we have come to depend on the luxuries of modern life to keep us comfortable and entertained, far exceeding our basic needs.

I relearned that we all like to whine and blame, and that a few people perfected the activity.

I've written a number of times about the change from being fairly independent, growing up in the tail-end of the agricultural era, my grandfather knowing his well-being status when he put his head to the pillow each night.

Now, we depend on thousands to bring that well-being to our door, and if that chain is disrupted, we're in trouble pretty fast, be it electric, communication, gasoline or food.

Still, the greatness of living "at the end of the food chain" in rural Calhoun, we do have great survival skills with our land and our neighbors, certainly compared to the metro areas where most have moved.

It was good to hear from lots of Herald readers out of the area, all who said complimentary things about the Herald's coverage and the responders who did well-being checks.

See WHY LIVE IN CALHOUN COUNTY? - Full Of Spirit, Character And Flaw