Start Thinking About Storm Preparation Ahead of Hurricane Sandy
Brian Norcross of the National Hurricane Center in Miami is forecasting the possibility of Hurricane Sandy, currently over Cuba, to possibly strengthen because of other air systems in the vicinity. This could mean major storm surge for the East Coast of Florida and the Bahamas in the next day or two.
That’s bad. But the most serious impact of the interplay of these air systems is that Sandy may be drawn westward as she rides the Gulfstream up the coast. Hurricane Center tracking models have targeted an area from the northern Carolinas to Maine.
A big area for sure.
Norcross said that the effects of the storm are likely to be widespread—many hundreds of miles—but many variables remain in play:
- How strong will it be? It might get “wounded” while it is over the Bahamas.
- Does the jet-stream push it east, changing the track northward?
- Where does the center make landfall, if it does?
He said that the biggest coastal threat will be north of the point of impact. So, if landfall misses your location to the north, then the coastal impacts for you would be reduced, although you could still have a long duration of strong winds.
He continues, “the key take-away is the same as it has been. The consensus of the best computer forecasts we have is an extremely strong storm on an unprecedented track into the Northeast or New England on Monday or Tuesday, depending on how far north it tracks before turning inland.
“We’ll know more by Friday when we see how the interaction with the jet stream comes out and where it is at that time. But, for now, everybody along the East Coast needs to stay informed and be ready to get prepared for an extended period without power and all of the other problems caused by a hurricane-like storm.”
Visit the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Preparedness
website for the most up-to-date information on shelters and evacuations.
So for us here in South County, it is the same drill that we should all be familiar with by now. Be prepared. Don’t panic. We have several days notice so that we can take the necessary precautions.
Download the National Hurricane Center’s
Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide (PDF).
Start by taking an inventory in your home this evening. Do you know where your flashlights and batteries and candles are located? Do you need to replenish any supplies? Do you have copies of your insurance paperwork and your agents phone number? Do you have all of your necessary prescription medicines? Is your laundry caught up?
Next, think about eating your way through your most perishable food items and frozen foods. Make a trip to the grocery store for necessities: bread, canned goods, cereal, shelf-stable milk, and snack foods that don’t require refrigeration. Don’t be greedy. Buy what you need and will eat. No need to clear store shelves in a frenzy.
If you live in South County, expect to be out of power for a few days. Freeze gallon-size Ziploc or Gladloc bags of water starting Saturday afternoon. Use these frozen bags to keep refrigerated items cool for additional time. Turn the fridge up to the coldest setting 24 hours before the storm is expected to make landfall.
Have potable water on hand (either fill up jugs and pitchers or buy gallons of water at the store). Those on well water should fill up bathtubs and/or as many buckets and pails as possible for toilet flushing on Sunday or Monday. This water is not suitable for drinking.
Fill up gas cans for generators and chain saws. Fill up gas tanks in cars in case you have to evacuate or drive further inland (especially waterfront homeowners).
Mariners should get their boats out of the water, especially those that can be trailered. Contact marinas for dry storage. This is the safest way for your boat to ride out a storm. Live-aboards should find a place to stay on land. Do not try to ride out a storm on your boat (it is only ok if you skipper an aircraft carrier).
If your vessel can not be trailered or otherwise removed from the water, prepare for storm surge by anchoring or tying-off in an area that has a sandy or muddy bottom—definitely not near rocky shorelines or rock bottoms. Surges of water can come in (like in Tropical Storm Lee) and water can be sucked out to sea (like during Hurricane Irene leaving your boat high and dry). Talk to your harbormaster for suggestions.
Invite elderly family members or neighbors to ride out the storm together—or help them get to a shelter.
If you decide to ride out the storm at the shelter, bring along necessary medicines, baby food, diapers, games and books, battery powered radio, flashlight, batteries, blankets or sleeping bag for each person, identification, copies of key papers and insurance policies, cash and credit cards. Most Anne Arundel County shelters are at high schools. Pets are permitted, but must be leashed or crated.
If you are asked to evacuate. Please do so!
After the storm, tune into this or other news sites as well as emergency radio, including: 97.9FM 103.1FM, 107.9FM and 810AM, 1090AM, 1430AM, 1590AM.
Potluck leftover food items with neighbors for a block party. Use outdoor grills outdoors only.
Use generators outdoors only and never fill a generator while it is running. Know about generator safety before using one.
Do not get out to drive around to look at storm damage during the eye or immediately after. Wires could be down and arcing. Police, fire and emergency personnel will be working to restore power and help medically-necessary victims first. If your home relies on electricity for medical purposes, make sure that BGE has your home on the list. You must present doctor’s written notice for this. Be prepared or go to a shelter or medical center to ride out the storm.
Finally, we will try to keep you up-to-date on local information to the best of our ability. And please! Let’s have ZERO South County fatalities/serious injuries if this storm heads our way. Stay safe.