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.

Kiddinnnng!

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.

  • douglaslm

    I have a case of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) and a case of First Strike Rations. FSR’s are made to be eaten on the go with no prep. They are basically 4000 calorie packs of snack foods, everything from candy bars to beef sticks. I also have 2 each 20 liter containers for water that I fill up. Around my area (eastern Missouri) tornadoes are the big threat so all of my emergency stuff is in a shelter in the basement.

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, member of the Oppressed Sisterhood fanclub

    Sandy is predicted to affect eastern Canada too. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/10/28/sandy-storm-ontario-redcross.html One of the storms expected to merge with Sandy is already saturating the ground here, and washed out the Trans Canada Highway in Wawa on Friday http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/10/27/wawa-rain-evacuation-highway-damage.html.

  • thunk, Blob Alert!

    Hank:

    Sandy isn’t expected to cause as much inland flooding as Irene did. Most of the heavy precip is on the west side of the storm, so Delmarva and Washington, D.C. will likely be walloped.
    Also, soil moisture has been near-normal this year, in contrast to the above-average totals last year.

    Latest HPC maps seem to say about 2 inches of rain for your region.

  • Rodney Nelson

    I live less than a mile from Long Island Sound. I’m prepared for a lengthy power-outage, a flooded basement, and no water (fill the bathtub with water for flushing the toilet).

  • dgrasett

    I am old enough to remember Hazel. I am worried about the power. Rain we already got.

  • Seeing/analyzing

    I live right at Ground Zero for where the storm is predicted to hit. People are saying to flee the area…and go where, exactly? I’d have to drive six hour to be out of range, and then what? Drive aimlessly around until I found a motel that takes pets?

    I’ve got food, water, alcohol, I’m prepared for my basement to flood (again).

  • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Lou Doench

    Like so many elements of the great environmental unraveling, we here in the Ohio Valley can only watch in horror as the world collapses around us. Keep her powder dry Hank and we’ll keep ready to send relief from inland when we can.

  • Anon123

    Superstorm? its barely a category one…

    Stop buying into the media scare people!

  • Crudely Wrott

    Anon123, it’s not a super-storm, agreed. What it is is a confluence of three, count ‘em, three disparate weather systems that is unprecedented in the modern era.

    Meteorologists don’t even have a name for it. Yet.

    The warnings are shrill and urgent, and they should be. It is probably due to its incessant repetition that the message begins to seem trite to some. Still, this is a very large mass of warm moist air meeting a very large mass of dry cold air squeezed together by an offshore high pressure system. Expectations of record low barometric levels are anticipated. Add in the path of current upper level flow, jet stream, and there is a distinct likelihood that this storm may linger for two or three days and many records will be broken and much damage and suffering will be the result.

    While this storm may not live up to the media hype, the potential for great mischief is certainly present. You better stock up and hunker down.

  • Blueaussi

    My Great Poo Pet of Love lives in Schenectady, but he’s over towards Ellis Hospital. That area is not generally flood prone, but he was battening down the hatches nonetheless.

    Schenectady is actually a pretty town. I hope you all ride out the storm safely with no flooding or wind damage!

  • dgrasett

    8:00 PM in Ontario. It has been raining all day. Parking lots aren’t flooded, but the drainage systems are under stress. Tonight and tomorrow we get to see what we learned from Hazel. If it is a Canadian storm, we will suffer property damage, neighbors will help neighbors, and noone will die – DO YOU HEAR THAT, SOUTHERN ONTARIO — NO ONE!! And we do that by watching out for our neighbours. We can do it. Remember Mississauga?
    Looks like tomorrow is wet and mucky. So I am off to work as usual. That basement may flood, it’s iffy.

  • Kevin K

    So, for all of the warning that people have had…all of the prep time in order to log-in supplies, or evacuate…thank a scientist.

    Specifically, thank a climatologist. You know…the guys who have been telling us for decades that climate change is going to fuck with the planet?

    Those guys. Thank those guys.

  • jakc

    Mormon neighbor with year’s supply of food … check.

    back before the Y2K crisis hit, with the loss of power and zombies and such, my wife told one of her fundamentalist brothers that we might be moving in if things got real bad. “Oh no,” he said. He had supplies for a limited number of people, and we hadn’t made the cut. He took Y2K pretty seriously, not the end of world, but he expected a bad four months. I expect it was my fault for us not making the cut, what with me laughing at the idea and such. My wife was a little worried, but I assured her that we could stay with some of my shirttail Mormon relatives who do indeed keep plenty of supplies on hand. Why, one of them even went as far as to keep instant coffee on hand for us gentiles (I know, instant? In a normal situation, I’d say “No thanks” but when someone buys it as a treat for you, you slug a cup down every time you visit.)

  • Tracey

    Hope everyone made it through the storm okay. We got 10″ of rain, but 2 hours west of us got 3 feet of snow, and 2 hours north of us, houses *blew up*. We lost power for about 40 hours because some moron jumped his SUV over a curb and into a utility pole before the storm even hit.

    Useful advice I found entirely by accident; health-food stores (at least in my area, the south) aren’t picked clean at the first sign of bad weather. I ducked in for candles, a container of fresh, store-ground peanut butter (ingredients: peanuts), crackers, apples, bananas, cheese, bread, and water. We dined royally on peanut-butter sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, and snacks of apples-and-sliced-cheese, peanut-butter-and-bananas, and peanut-butter-and-crackers, plus the pan of brownies I baked before the power went. We never even had to break into the canned soup or tuna fish.

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