PSA and a question: High winds and power outages in Michigan Sunday gameday

Submitted by yossarians tree on February 22nd, 2019 at 10:17 AM

Just saw a forecast for Sunday. They are calling for a "bomb cyclone" in much of lower Michigan, with sustained winds of 35 mph and gusts of 50 mph for a good part of the day.

Where I live we still have power lines and I am anticipating losing power, which means I won't have television to watch the basketball game at 4 pm. I am thinking of contingency plans, and so should you if you live in the region.

Question: I've heard there are now smaller, affordable generators available that can run limited power for rotating appliances in a brief outage. Thinking I could run my television during the game, and then later freezer, furnace, etc. (although now I'm thinking my cable wires could go too, in which case I'm totally screwed). So, what are my options for a small generator that won't cost me $800?


Chalky White

February 22nd, 2019 at 7:23 PM ^

When I built this house, we installed a 20,000 kw generator. This thing has been fantastic.  Sometimes I'll wake up and some of the digital clocks will be flashing. The generators will come on at night and I won't even notice because it's on the other side of the house. It has to piss off my neighbors when they are stuck in the dark while I have power.


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:30 AM ^

besides the standby generator, we also have a hand-crank radio, i.e., you turn the crank and that's the power source.  very inexpensive.  desperate times call for desperate measures...


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:51 AM ^

no, not a prepper, but when you live up north out in the boonies power outages are a thing.  and besides a larger than average family, we've got livestock to keep alive and, depending on the time of the year, crops too.  also, all of this stuff is good for the kids, hoping to make them genuinely resourceful as they get older as opposed to apoplectic if their meals can't be found in the grocer's freezer or their computer won't boot up.  we do some crazy stuff like read books, build things, make bio diesel, no TV.  its the new wave....kidding aside, it seems to be working out. 


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:58 AM ^

"also, all of this stuff is good for the kids, hoping to make them genuinely resourceful as they get older as opposed to apoplectic if their meals can't be found in the grocer's freezer or their computer won't boot up.  we do some crazy stuff like read books, build things, make bio diesel, no TV.  its the new wave....kidding aside, it seems to be working out."

So, a prepper...





February 22nd, 2019 at 11:28 AM ^

think it is more of "living in the country so we have to fend for ourselves" kind of prepping versus "civilization is on the brink of collapse" kind of prepping. 

i'm getting fed up with LA so living in the country is sounding more and more attractive but when you aren't in the city you have to do almost everything for yourself.  so having a good back up generator is key. 

my parents live outside of Grand Rapids and i've been pushing them to get a generator because they have a well that when the power goes out they can't use.  my mom literally fills the bathtubs prior to big storms to make sure they have water to flush toilets and whatnot.


February 22nd, 2019 at 11:42 AM ^

in the unlikely event that your comment is in earnest, you would call us farmers, not preppers.  i assume you know nothing about farming, but like many things, i could be wrong.  come spend time on the farm (sans the clown outfit), it'll make more sense.  it is a completely different lifestyle that has great benefits to those who are disposed to such things.  like i said, it seems to be working out well, these decades later.  i'll let you know if i was right in another quarter century or so. 

if you do come visit, bring an appetite.  all organic, no gmo feed, no vaccines/hormones/pesticides/herbicides, grass fed beef and lamb, pastured poultry.  pretty sure you will like the food. 


February 22nd, 2019 at 12:09 PM ^

non-gmo feed and no vaccines is a very good thing.  have you been to an organic food store, or even one of the organic superstores like a lucky's or maybe whole foods?   they are big on that stuff. grass fed beef and lamb are smaller than their grain fed counter parts but have, IMHO, superior taste and are leaner.  its better nutrition all the way around. 

do you farm? 

rob f

February 22nd, 2019 at 12:47 PM ^

What XM is actually doing is following the lead of Oliver and Lisa Douglas, albeit more successfully.

One of his first decisions, when he decided that "farm living is the life for me!", was to name his place "Blue Acres" instead of green.  

Wise choice, IMHO

edit: Or is it "Maize and Blue" Acres, XM?  Do you grow any corn?


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:34 AM ^

D'antonierro thought basketball was played outside like football, so he slaughtered a puppy and prayed to King Paimon to send bad weather to help his buddy Izzo... 


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:36 AM ^

These things are incredibly easy to google - you'll get prices and a store location to go buy one.  They all do the same thing.  Count up the amount of wattage you need, and buy genny that will support that amount (or get one that will support whatever load you need at any given time).

Example: Your TV may use 500 watts, and the cable box 20 watts; you'll also want a couple of lights on, so add 120w (two, 60w bulbs).  If you have a separate speaker setup for the TV, add power for that (ie: 5-1 Dolby = (10w/channel * 5 channels) + (1) 100w base = 150 watts for speakers).  Add those together = 790 watts.  Throw some buffer (~25%) for power spikes, and you'll want a 1000 watt generator.

Now don't plug it into the wall, or you're going to kill someone trying to fix the line.


February 22nd, 2019 at 11:53 AM ^

so add 120w (two, 60w bulbs)

Or, while you're there, replace your incandescent bulbs (if you still have any) with LEDs or compact fluorescent.  You get the same amount of brightness (lumens) from a 13W CFL or a 7-10W LED as you do a 60W incandescent bulb.

The misuse of wattage as an indication of a light bulb's strength has caused much confusion. :)


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:51 AM ^

Well, I might not be able to watch this game if I get called to work, that's what bothers me more than anything at the moment. As for my house, and hopefully this holds, we tend to get lucky when it is just wind provided there are no leaves on the trees to turn all of them into giant umbrellas. As we discovered in the last "bomb cyclone" in March 2017, shallow-rooted trees, especially when it has been wet outside, do not fare well, so those of you with numerous pines might have an interesting go of it. 


February 22nd, 2019 at 10:53 AM ^

If you are in the dark (pun intended) during the time of the game, you could wait and avoid news of the score until your power is back and watch a replay. I am not sure how CBS works, but FOX and ESPN have on-demand replays for events that are a week or so old on their apps. All you need is a cable subscription, which you obviously have.

Just an option!

Arb lover

February 22nd, 2019 at 10:57 AM ^

Redneck option: real small generator for TV and internet+ extension cord+ really good power strip/flux regulator. I wouldn't hook electronics directly up to a portable generator as a rule of thumb.

MGrad option: hire a real electrician to wire a circuit to the outside of the house for the generator, and simply shut off all the other circuits but the ones you need running. Also not a bad $2k investment Inc generator if you are getting up there in age.

Mgoblog option: go to a bar, bro.


February 22nd, 2019 at 11:09 AM ^

Nah. Plenty of box stores with 6500W gens for well under a grand. The brands aren't premium but most will do the job. You can run pretty much your whole house with 6500W. Assuming gas appliances of course. Also assuming you are smart about it and don't have every light in the house on. 6500W will easily run all non-electric appliances (I'm talking big appliances like dryer, water heater, range, furnace), your well, your furnace, plenty of lights, fridge, freezer.


February 22nd, 2019 at 11:25 AM ^

Perform a trial run with the generator. When the wife asks “what the hells going on out here?”..... response: ....”doing a walk through with the scout team.”


February 22nd, 2019 at 11:38 AM ^

I use Hulu Live instead of cable and it's fantastic for many reasons. First and most important in this case, you don't necessarily need power to watch because you can watch live TV on your phone, tablet, laptop, etc. 

Second, it's only $40/month and you get all the sports channels (ESPN's lineup, Fox's lineup, CBS', etc.) plus limited commercials for any series you watch on Hulu. 

Of course, if your power went out, you wouldn't be able to watch Hulu on a TV...But at least you would still have access to the game on another medium.


February 22nd, 2019 at 11:54 AM ^

Folks, safety message here

if you see a downed wire, always assume it to be energized (live) and stay at least 20 feet away. 

One additional note, if a wire is down in the yard, do not let your pets out.


be safe everyone and Go Blue! 

Ty Butterfield

February 22nd, 2019 at 1:58 PM ^

It is too stressful to watch these games live. Will be able to finally get some stuff done around the house Sunday afternoon. Have to stay busy to keep my mind off the game.