Thousand Year Floods and the Ford Lightning Come to Kentucky

Kentucky is experiencing what weather reporters are calling a thousand year flood – it’s the second such flood to hit the region in as many weeks, and it’s left more than 37 dead, hundreds injured, and tens of thousands without power. Watching the devastation unfold on news channels and across social media platforms, Ford CEO Jim Farley decided to try to help, and he’s sent a pair of Ford F-150 Lightning pickups to help aid in the recovery efforts.

The two electric trucks, along with direct cash injections to recovery efforts, are coming to Kentucky through the Ford Fund, a charity that, “works to ensure that peoples’ basic needs are met, provides access to essential services,” and more. Farley references both in his tweet, below, in which he calls Kentucky – where the company has two assembly plants and a number of supplier factories – “part of [the] Ford family.”

How useful can two half-ton pickups really be, though? It turns out, they can be pretty helpful, indeed – thanks to Ford’s Power Pro Onboard generator systems.

Ford Pro Power Onboard

Ford F-150 Pro Power, courtesy Ford.

Both the F-150 Lightning and F-150 Powerboost Hybrid model trucks are available with “Pro Power Onboard.” The generator provides up to 9.6 kW of power through 120 and 240v power outlets in the bed of the trucks – which, thanks to the base Lightning’s 98 kWh battery pack, is good enough for more than 10 (ten!) hours of power at full load.

As impressive as that figure is, however, work crews on the ground will actually get much, much more than 10 hours’ use in practice. That’s because even the most powerful tools will only see a few minutes (if not seconds) of continuous use, and there’s no power draw when nothing’s connected.

What Good Will That Do?

The two Lightning pickups were received by a nonprofit disaster response unit called Team Rubicon, who report that each truck can support a crew of 5-7 workers working all day, and help get power back 10-15 family homes per day. And, while that may not seem like a lot, if you’re a member of one of the families enduring this …

… being able to go back to your own home and turn on the lights, just like normal, is a wonderful feeling. Take it from someone who’s lived through the aftermaths Andrew, Katrina, and all four of the storms that hit Florida in 2004 (seriously, kids: if you see a hurricane coming, stay as far away from me as possible).

About That Thousand Year Flood

The flooding that kit Kentucky is being called a thousand year flood – but you’re not crazy if you think you’ve heard that before. In February of 2020, heavy rains again caused flooding across the state, as well as deadly mudslides that raised the Cumberland and Kentucky rivers to their highest levels in years.

Kentucky author Silas House wrote about the floods, and spoke of how the residents of a Harlan County trailer park were forced to run from the flooding with, “only the clothes on their backs and the babies on their hips.”

A year later, in February 2021, “the worst flooding in at least six decades” struck Kentucky, causing more devastation.

“I wish I could tell you why we keep getting hit here in Kentucky,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who has seen a “one in a lifetime” natural disaster hit his state in each of his three years in office. “I wish I could tell you why areas where people may not have much continue to get hit and lose everything. I can’t give you the why, but I know what we do in response to it. And the answer is everything we can. These are our people. Let’s make sure we help them out.”

I feel for Beshear. I worry about him, too, in a state that might “connect the dots” in bizarre ways and assume that three years of bad luck is merely the manifestation of the rage of some deity or other who’s been offended by one of his votes or commercials or whatever and – best not to think of the possibilities.

Regardless, climate change is here – and I fear that two electric pickup trucks (regardless of how good they are) won’t be enough to turn the tides.

Source | Images: the Freep.


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