When the weather is calm for days and days, sometimes, meteorologists sit around a water cooler and ponder worst-case scenarios. For instance, you might hear one say, “What if a hurricane came up the east coast loaded with pure tropical moisture and fierce winds and then met an arctic front across the northeast and created hybrid hurricane/snow-cane??? Wouldn’t that be crazy?” Well… Hurricane Sandy looks to be forming into a storm just like that. Some have already dubbed Sandy “Frankenstorm”. Unfortunately, it’s no laughing matter. If Sandy does indeed interact with the strongest front of the season as it looks like she’s going to do, cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore/Washington, New York, and Boston will see significant impacts that will look like this:
-45-70 mph winds along the east coast from the Carolinas up through Maine
-Coastal flooding will be a huge issue for many of the big cities of the northeast such as Ocean City, MD, Atlantic City, NJ, Cape May, NJ, Long Island and Boston. There will likely be evacuation orders beginning this weekend for some coastal areas.
-Many trees and power lines will be blown down and power outages may surpass those caused by Irene last year. The potential is there for more than 1 million people to lose power (perhaps several millions) – some for days.
-Travel will become a nightmare by Sunday night and Monday from Washington/Baltimore northward. Expect lots of flight delays and cancellations which will have a ripple effect across the country.
-Heavy rains will likely cause river flooding and heavy snows in the mountains of West Virginia and Pennsylvania could cause widespread power outages there. Some locations in the higher elevations could be measuring snow in feet.
So, how should residents of the Northeast and East Coast prepare? Here’s what the National Weather Service in New York is recommended in a Public Information Statement released today. Notice they aren’t playing around…
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY 914 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012 ...PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT... ...PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION FOR THE UPCOMING COASTAL STORM... THERE IS AN INCREASING CHANCE THAT A STRONG COASTAL STORM WILL TRACK CLOSE TO THE TRI STATE AREA EARLY NEXT WEEK. WHETHER OR NOT TROPICAL SYSTEM SANDY REMAINS A TROPICAL CYCLONE BY THE TIME OF ITS CLOSEST APPROACH TO US...SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS TO THE AREA COULD BE FELT AS EARLY AS SUNDAY AND LAST THROUGH AT LEAST TUESDAY. NOW IS THE TIME TO START PLANNING FOR THESE POTENTIAL IMPACTS. STAY INFORMED BY MONITORING THE LATEST HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM ADVISORIES IN ADDITION TO YOUR NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOCAL FORECASTS. LISTEN TO RADIO AND TELEVISION REPORTS...AS WELL AS NOAA WEATHER RADIO TO GET THE LATEST ADVISORY UPDATES. SIGNIFICANT COASTAL FLOODING WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH THIS STORM. FIND OUT IF YOU LIVE WITHIN A STORM SURGE EVACUATION ZONE. KNOW THE LOCATION OF DESIGNATED OFFICIAL SHELTERS AND LEARN THE MOST DIRECT SAFE ROUTE TO GET THERE. MOST SHELTERS WILL NOT ALLOW PETS...AND SOME SHELTERS HAVE FACILITIES FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS...SO TAKE THESE INTO CONSIDERATION. ADDITIONALLY...KNOW YOUR EVACUATION ROUTES IN ADVANCE. MUCH OF THIS INFORMATION MAY BE FOUND AT YOUR LOCAL TOWN HALL...OR ON THE INTERNET AT YOUR COUNTY'S OFFICE OF EMERGENCY WEBSITE. LISTEN CAREFULLY TO LOCAL OFFICIALS AND EVACUATE THE AREA IF TOLD TO DO SO. IF YOU DO NOT EVACUATE TO AN OFFICIAL SHELTER...YOU MAY CONSIDER STAYING AT A FRIEND'S OR RELATIVE'S HOME OUT OF THE EVACUATION ZONE. LEAVE LOW LYING OR COASTAL AREAS...AS WELL AS OFFSHORE ISLANDS. THESE ARE THE LOCATIONS MOST PRONE TO STORM SURGE. STORM SURGE IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF A STORM SUCH AS THIS ONE. THE SURGE IS A DOME OF WATER THAT COMES ACROSS THE COAST AS THE STORM MAKES LANDFALL. IF YOU LIVE CLOSE TO THE COAST IN A MOBILE HOME YOU SHOULD EVACUATE TO A MORE SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER...EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT IN A STORM SURGE PRONE AREA. SEVERAL INCHES OF RAINFALL WILL ALSO BE A POSSIBILITY WITH THIS STORM. BE PREPARED FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF NEEDING TO HEAD TO HIGHER GROUND IF YOU LIVE NEAR FLOOD PRONE RIVERS AND STREAMS. IF EVACUATION IS NOT REQUIRED OR RECOMMENDED...STAY AT HOME IF YOUR HOUSE IS STURDY AND ON HIGH GROUND. STRONG GUSTY WINDS WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE FOR A RELATIVELY LONG DURATION OF TIME. BE PREPARED FOR THE POTENTIAL OF PROPERTY DAMAGE AND AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF POWER OUTAGES. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE FOLLOWING SUPPLIES... OBTAIN A PORTABLE...BATTERY OPERATED RADIO ALONG WITH A FRESH SUPPLY OF BATTERIES. A RADIO WILL BE ONE OF YOUR MOST USEFUL SOURCES OF INFORMATION. OBTAIN SEVERAL FLASHLIGHTS WITH FRESH BATTERIES. USE OF CANDLES FOR LIGHTING IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR SAFETY REASONS. HAVE ENOUGH EXTRA BATTERIES TO LAST FOR SEVERAL DAYS. THERE MAY BE NO ELECTRICITY AFTER THE STORM. HAVE A FULL TANK OF GASOLINE IN YOUR AUTOMOBILE. NEVER LET YOUR VEHICLE GAS TANK BE LESS THAN HALF FULL DURING A STORM LIKE THIS. ELECTRICALLY OPERATED GAS PUMPS MAY FAIL DURING THE STORM. OBTAIN CANNED GOODS AND NON PERISHABLE FOODS. THERE MAY BE NO ELECTRICITY OR GAS AFTER THE STORM...SO STORE PACKAGED FOODS WHICH CAN BE PREPARED WITHOUT COOKING AND NEED NO REFRIGERATION. REFILL NEEDED PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS. OBTAIN CONTAINERS FOR DRINKING WATER. HAVE CLEAN...AIR TIGHT CONTAINERS TO STORE A SUFFICIENT WATER SUPPLY FOR SEVERAL DAYS. THE WATER SUPPLY WILL POSSIBLY BE INTERRUPTED OR CONTAMINATED. OBTAIN MATERIALS FOR PROTECTING GLASS OPENINGS. HAVE SHUTTERS OR LUMBER FOR PROTECTING LARGE WINDOWS AND DOORS. USE MASKING TAPE ON SMALL WINDOWS. PUTTING TAPE ON GLASS WINDOWS OR DOORS WILL NOT PREVENT FLYING DEBRIS FROM BREAKING THE GLASS...BUT WILL MINIMIZE THE SPREADING AND SHATTERING OF GLASS IF THE WINDOW DOES BREAK. HAVE MATERIALS FOR EMERGENCY REPAIRS. YOUR INSURANCE POLICY MAY COVER THE COST OF MATERIALS USED IN TEMPORARY REPAIRS...SO KEEP ALL RECEIPTS. THESE WILL ALSO BE HELPFUL FOR ANY INCOME TAX DEDUCTIONS. FOR THE MARINE COMMUNITY...MOOR YOUR BOAT SECURELY OR MOVE IT TO SAFE SHELTER. FINALLY...DONT FORGET TO BRING PETS INDOORS...AND SECURE OUTDOOR OBJECTS IF NOT BRINGING THEM INDOORS AS WELL. DISCUSS STORM PREPAREDNESS WITH YOUR FAMILY. SHARE YOUR IDEAS WITH FRIENDS...NEIGHBORS AND RELATIVES. PREPAREDNESS IS A JOB FOR EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY. FOR ADDITIONAL HELP OR ASSISTANCE ON STORM PREPAREDNESS...PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY OR YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE. IT IS BEST TO FORMULATE YOUR PREPAREDNESS PLAN WELL IN ADVANCE OF A STORM SYSTEM...DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE.