Bracing For Superstorm Sandy

Storm preparations:  Guns, knives, ammo … check, check, check. Mormon neighbor with year’s supply of food … check.

Storm Survival Tips #413: Lhasa Apsos are nicely marbled, but mini-dachshunds have more actual meat.


When Hurricane Irene made landfall in August of 2011, I lived in a nice, safe farmhouse well above floodline. We even had a fireplace, so if the power had gone out, we’d be warm and might have even finagled a way to cook.

But along about that same time, we were looking at an apartment in town, less than 100 yards from the Mohawk River, which flooded something like TEN FEET above its normal banks. As we moved into the apartment in the coming weeks, we could see people cleaning out water-soaked debris from the houses just a bit downhill from us.

Those houses had flooded to their roof eaves. The water came within a few linear yards of my new apartment building. One foot higher and it would have flooded the basement, filling up the laundry and utility rooms and knocking out power, heat and maybe even gas service.

That was midsummer, though. Assuming some official hadn’t ordered us out of there, even if the apartment had turned into little more than a roofed box, we would still have done okay.

But now …

I still live there in that Schenectady, New York (east coast of the United States for you outback Oz characters) apartment, more than a year later, and I’m wondering if this butt-kicker of a storm predicted to blunder inland from the Atlantic will drop even more rain than Irene, and actually flood into my building. As I’m on the third floor, I have no worries that it will affect anything I own, but I am concerned about power, heat, etc.

Speaking of which, confident predictions project loss of power all along the east coast, and even far inland, lasting anywhere from hours to weeks.

We’re well fixed for blankets and water containers, but I went shopping today and got lots of canned stuff, plus candles, matches, extra mantles and gas bottles for my propane lantern. Filled up the truck with gas. Also drove around looking for a small propane stove. Most of the shelves I looked at, in two sporting goods stores and a Target, were empty of those items, but I finally located them at Wal-Mart. Meanwhile, people were buying bottled water, batteries, flashlights, all sorts of survival gear for this storm.

Storm-subject comments I heard from people ranged from the blithely unaware to the somewhat anxious to the cynical “Yeah, that’s what they want you to think. This is Y2K all over again.”

I was out there shopping because I thought it was worth preparing. I always think it’s worth preparing, no matter what “they” want you to think. Y2K fizzled not because it was a big lie and was never going to happen, but because people were forewarned enough that any dire effects were headed off before they happened.

One of my Wise Old Sayings I Just Made Up is “If you could see just 5 seconds into the future, you’d never have another accident.” And we sort of can see into the future. The future, whatever future there is, is this real time/place. We have the intelligence and foresight to do something about it, and as realists (atheist being one of the subcategories of realist), it’s up to us to … you know, gather nuts, make preserves, bring in firewood, buy matches and candles and canned soup.

Rather than, for instance, to pray and accept God’s will.

Foresightful planning is  the way to ensure that some of that future is shaped by YOUR will, rather than the government’s, or your neighbor’s, or some nonexistent supernatural superbeing.

The serious part of the storm is predicted to make landfall sometime Monday, and apparently might last until Wednesday or Thursday, dumping massive amounts of rain, tree-toppling wind, and even snow (!) in some places.

Fellow East Coasters, stay safe in the coming week.

West coasters — plus Canadians, Australians, Europeans, South Americans, Elsewhereans — party on, you happy bastards!

If I survive this “superstorm,” you’ll see me back at it next week. Or whenever the power comes back on.

Assuming those damned Mormons don’t also have guns.

Catholic Church Flexing Muscle in U.S. Hospitals
Beta Culture: Dealing With Conservatives
Dawkins in Boston, Oh Yeah
Beta Culture: Beyond Veterans Day