We Need to Talk About Sandy

2012-10-27 17:57:13.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

Sandy et al from space earlier today.

Reading through various status updates, comments, tweets, etc. about the upcoming storm, it seems that people are becoming more and more polarized in their opinions about what to do and what will be happening. Some are either over preparing like it is the end of times or they are taking the opposite approach and ignoring it all together because they feel it is being overhyped. But, I feel you shouldn’t be doing either of these, you just need to find a happy medium as you would with any big storm. So, here is what I would say if I were talking to a friend or family member:

Yes, the storm is big. Yes, we are in relatively uncharted territory in modern meteorology; we have never really seen anything like this before. Yes, it looks, as of now, it will no longer be a direct blow; but remember that Irene wasn’t technically a direct blow either and we all saw the devastation that it brought to parts of the state. Yes, it will be rainy. While most will see 1 to 3 inches of rain out of this, some may see upwards of 8 inches or more. So, yes, it may flood as a result in some parts of the state. Yes it will be windy. Winds may not be hurricane force in many areas but they will be prolonged and high with gusts upwards of 50 mph or more in many areas, this will likely bring down branches. And as the ground moistens up, trees may topple as well. This will likely knock out power, so yes, you may be powerless for some time. Yes, there will be coastal flooding as the storm surge is met by a full moon and a high tide. And yes, there is even the possibility of snow on the backside of the storm later in the week.

So, this is going to happen, so don’t burry your head in the sand or run around like a panicked Muppet. What should you do? Stay level headed and prepare as you would for any other similar Hurricane, Tropical Storm, Nor’easter, or severe weather event; this isn’t the first time many of us have been through a big storm. So, know your areas evacuation routes. Know where local shelters will likely be just in case. Check flashlights to make sure the batteries work. You may not have or need a generator, but if you have one, check to make sure the fuel and oil are still good and that it runs. Keep your cell phone charged in case you lose power. Have a radio to listen for updates in case you lose power. Have enough food and drinking water on hand just in case of a worst case scenario. If you think windows or doors may be smashed, buy plywood or other materials to protect them. Clear away trees or shrubs that pose a threat. Make sure gutters and drains are free of leaves, especially since it is fall and these will likely cause minor flooding first. Move or secure boats if in danger. Have utility companies, insurance carrier, and relevant numbers on hand to call if any issues arise. Have a plan for you pets. Make sure your vehicles are fueled. Have some extra cash on hand in case ATM’s lose power. Bring in or secure objects around the outside of your home. And lastly, stay informed via internet, phone, radio or TV, so you know what is happening at all times to stay ahead of things.

Remember, you have survived major storms in the past. So, if you need to put yourself in a proper frame of mind, think back to other big storms you were in. Better yet, think back to the worst storm you were ever in and if you could have a do over, what would you do differently. If, for instance, you didn’t need a generator for that storm, you’re not going to need one in this storm. If you didn’t need 30 gallons of water and 50 loaves of bread in that storm, you’re not going to need one in this storm. If during that storm you lost power but didn’t know how to contact PSNH or other companies, this time, know how. If last time, a garbage can smashed through your sliding glass window, this time pull them in or secure them. If last time the street drain on your block backed up and flooded your street and basement, lend a helping hand and help keep it clear. If last time you wished you had a tarp, extra blanket, more batteries, duct tape, zip ties, etc, do it over and have them on hand this time.

But, in the off chance that this is all new to you for one reason or the other, again, don’t panic. Talk to your neighbors and friends as to what they typically do to prepare for Nor’easters, Hurricanes, or other big storms. This isn’t the first time many of us have prepared or been through a big storm, so we all have our own tips and useful ideas. If you aren’t fortunate to have neighbors or friends around you and are reading this, you have the internet, which is a great tool and resource. You can use FEMA’s Tropical Cyclone guide or turn to Ready NH or any one of several other sites for some additional pointers. And to continue to track the storm and check for any watches or warnings in your area, turn to the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service, Accuweather, The Weather Channel, our severe weather resources page, or any other weather provider including, but not limited to, your local news sources online or over the airwaves (TV/radio).


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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