Storm Watch: Hurricane Sandy

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  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 04:08pm


    Adam Taggart

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    Storm Watch: Hurricane Sandy

Ready or not, if you live along the US east coast, Mother Nature has just announced a pop quiz. Subject: personal and community resiliency.

By all accounts, Sandy is a big storm. Sandy is expected to be near hurricane force at landfall.  As of 8 a.m. ET, the storm was about 260 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 395 miles from New York City, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.  It was moving 10 mph.  Sandy is expected to move parallel along the Southeast coast today and tonight, and approach the mid-Atlantic coast by Monday night.

Our thoughts are with our with our readers, staff, and family living in Sandy's path. We hope you're all able to take appropriate steps to ensure your safety as the storm passes over (and if you haven't, we certainly recommend doing so before Sandy arrives).

And we're setting up this thread for folks to use for sharing preparation guidance, reporting developments, asking advice, and providing emotional support — in advance of and during the storm.

Many of you have been investing in resiliency for months or years now. Take this experience as an opportunity to identify where the weaker points in your preparations are. When the storm has passed and normal life resumes, you'll know better where to focus your energies.

Also note how your neighbors and community react. Who is well-prepared and who isn't? Which neighbors weather the storm with good attitudes, and which ones panic? Are your city's/town's services well-equipped to respond? Are there breakdowns in responsiveness due to lack of investment/infrastructure/expertise? All of this will provide good insight into what to expect from your community in future emergencies, and how you may need to amend your plans in anticipation of what *not* to count on next time.

And if you're one of those who has yet to begin preparing in earnest, two things:

  • Read our What Should I Do? guide for direction on how best to focus your actions in the remaining time you have before Irene arrives in force. Prioritize securing sufficient water, food, and first-aid stores to last, should the storm knock out your power, for two weeks.
  • Note how quickly store shelves deplete, as people rush to stock up in advance of the storm. Let this be a wake-up call to you. Emergencies, by definition, catch you unaware. As we enter a future where energy is less available to us, shortages of many kinds are likely to occur. When they do, they, too, will often arrive with little to no warning. Reduce your vulnerability by investing in your resiliency while you still have time to do so in a measured manner. And *don't* be one of those who contribute to the risk of panic during an emergency by rushing out to stockpile at the last moment.

Again, we wish all of our East Coast readers safety amidst whatever Mother Nature throws at you over the next few days. We've taken steps to make sure this site remains updated and running, even if the power at Martenson Central goes out for prolonged periods.

As you're able, please let us know in the Comments section below how you're faring.


  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 04:40pm


    Amanda Witman

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    Thanks so much, Adam

My nearest neighbors (here in town, where we recently moved) tell me they have not lost water service in the ~12-36 years they’ve been living here, and only ever lose power for 1-2 hours at most.  We are right around the corner from the hospital, and very close to the police and fire stations.  It will be interesting to see if that holds true in this storm, which is supposed to be fairly epic.

There are many people here who are panicking because so many have only just finished repairing and recovering from Hurricane Irene, which hit us hard last year.  It would — will? — be tragic if those same areas experience severe flooding again.  I suppose the good news is that town and regional agencies are taking this storm threat very seriously and issuing detailed cautions and preparations well in advance of the storm’s arrival. 

However, we are accustomed here to hearing weathermen over-predict (perhaps even sensationalize) potential storm impacts, and the general attitude I’m feeling from people I talk with in town is that they just don’t buy that this storm is going to be as bad as “they” say.  We have been told far too often that we are expecting a foot of snow and then we get just a few inches or even just rain.  I guess my standard response there is the same as it is here:  I’d rather be a year early and overprepared than a day late and underprepared.  I went to the food co-op this morning for more eggs and bread “just in case,” and I secured or moved indoors all of the loose things in my yard.  But I’m not panicking, because I’ve prepared in all the ways I can reasonably manage, and all those preps moved with us. 

My kids are really hoping it won’t cancel Halloween for the second year in a row — last year we had a major early snowstorm on Halloween.  We’ll see.  It’s not high on my priority list, but it is on theirs!

My thoughts are with those who are further south of us and already being impacted by the storm.  Good luck, everyone.

  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 05:17pm



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    reminder for west coast preppers too…

Last night there was a big earthquake just off the northern BC coast. Here at the south end of Vancouver Island I did not feel it, and I am thankful that I do not have to put into action my emergency plans. You just never know out here.

I am also thankful I am not on the east coast with this monster storm bearing down on me. Good luck everyone, my thought are with you.

And Adam, great idea re conducting a post mortem on how things went down and how people reacted. That is definitely good info to take away from a disaster situation in order to fine tune one’s personal disaster planning. I look forward to hearing of people’s experiences.

Here’s to hoping that the storm is not as bad as predicted… Good luck!



  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 05:42pm


    Adam Taggart

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    Fairly frightening forecast

Here’s a recent dispatch from the Weather Channel explaining why Sandy is such a historic outlier in terms of its size and potential for damage:…

  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 05:47pm



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I’m looking forward to a little bit of a challenge to see how comprehensive our preparations are.  Our major weakness is energy resilience: we have PLANS to get a natgas/propane emergency generator but no actual generator.  In 24 years in Philly our electricity has only been out for more than 2 hours one time and that was on a New Year’s Eve when some idiots fired about 200 handgun rounds into a nearby transformer on a pole until it blew up.  That was fixed in 8 hours.  I’d love 24 hours without electricity as a drill and as the final impetus I need to spring for the generator.  (Right now, it’s not too cold and not too hot, so the population should be able to weather it just fine without heat/AC.)  Unfortunately, I’m expecting a lot less than 24 hours without electricity.

Like Amanda Witman I’m a little tired of the “weather hype” we are more and more subjected to (probably to generate MSM viewership).

I do have my eye on the large branch of my neighbor’s huge maple tree that hangs over our deck and the rear of our house.  

  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 05:49pm



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    Not just the east coast, think north coast

Although well inland from the ocean, the Great Lakes are also going to take some pretty severe weather.  They are predicting over 20′ waves along the south shore of Lake Ontario and those waves are likely continue to pound the shoreline for quite a while:

A good friend lives on the shoreline.  Although the houses along his stretch are up off the water line and set back, 20′ waves will likely hit those houses or at the very least wash out larges pieces of their yards.  Many of those houses belong to snowbirds who have already left for Fla and points south.  We’ve invited him to bring himself and his cats to our house if he feels like evacuating.

There are also several small port towns that are lower than the houses.  The villages could take a lot of damage.

I doubt people in that area have ever experienced anything like what is coming as the direction of the storm and persistent high waves appear to be unique.

  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 07:43pm


    Wendy S. Delmater

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    it’s past the Carolinas

Hurricane Sandy passed us 270 miles out to sea, and we still had wind and cloudy weather – 120 miles inland. The thing is immense.

Our thoughts are with our northern East Coast neighbors.

  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 07:44pm



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    So Far, So Good

 Just keep the earthquakes and tsunamis on the left coast……

Been raining since early Saturday evening.  Blustery winds but nothing out of the ordinary.  Eye is on track to be due east somewhere around 8:00AM Monday morning which will put the winds out of the north – that’s good because it will scoop the piled up water out of the bays and mitigate the full moon tides.  Highest surge near us is forecast to be 6-7 feet which is easily manageable.  I realize things could change – but I’m with thc, given all of the many, valuable things we have learned from the gang here at CM/ over the years, we’re set for just about anything Sandy could throw at us and a little challenge would help tweak the game plan.  I started the generator and did a load run yesterday, topped of a few items in the pantry and staged the emergency kits – lanterns, headlamps, three burner camp stove, high capacity water filters.  Unless something drastic occurs in the next 6-12 hours I imagine I’ll be putting all of it away this time tomorrow.  I think people north are going to get hit just a touch harder than Tidewater – hope everyone is dug in and ready. 

Cat and I did make 4 quarts of chili this morning.  27 different kinds of homegrown peppers.  Two batches – one mild: Green bell, Carolina Gold bell, Chocolate bell, Red bell, Orange bell, Red Marconi, Yellow Marconi, Sweet banana, Anaheim, Poblano, Red Corno di Toro, Purple Beauty bell.

The other represents a high water mark for me. 

Hot batch: All of the peppers in the mild batch PLUS Hot banana, Ghost, Trinidad Butch “T”, Trinidad Scorpion Tail, Carribean Red, Yellow Fatali, Orange habanero, Scotch Bonnet habanero, Red Savina habanero, White habanero, Chocolate habanero, Willy pepper, Lantern pepper, Thai Dragon pepper, Chinese 5 Color Aji.

Fukushima ain’t got nothing on me…..


  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 08:00pm



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    35 miles or so inland


We are ~35 miles inland along the southern outer banks. 

All we have gotten is some wind and rain. Not even as much rain as predicted. 

As the eye wall of the storm passes to our north, we will have an interesting thing happen, water will actually be pushed OUT of the rivers and toward the sound side with flooding of the barrier islands and outer sound from the “backside” of the storm. The view is rather eerie seeing the pilings of the bridges more exposed than usual just after having been covered more than usual by the storm surge.

I guess I have become accustomed to the wind, I didn’t even strap down the lawn furniture on the back deck.

I am more worried about the family back home in New England.

  • Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - 10:01pm


    Arthur Robey

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iZulu leDuma iQuaniso

The Heavens Thunder the Truth.

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