The participants in the National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers tend to be preparing for scenarios that many of us would consider remote, such as a catastrophic collapse of the global economic system, or an electromagnetic pulse attack by terrorists or a foreign enemy that would disable the nation’s electricity grids and render much of our technology inoperable. But this weekend, a lot of people on the East Coast of the U.S. are getting worried about a potential cataclysm that they are watching develop on their TV screens.
Hurricane Sandy, which already has battered the Caribbean and taken at least 31 lives, is moving toward the U.S. with gusts from the storm already being felt in southern Florida, according to this Reuters dispatch. Some are calling Sandy a”Frankenstorm” because it consists of three merging weather systems that will be bolted together into a single, extremely powerful super-storm that threatens to strike heavily populated areas.
From the National Hurricane Center, here’s the latest information on the storm.
The Wall Street Journal reports that as of Friday morning, government weather forecasters are looking at the Delaware shore as the place where Sandy eventually may swing inland early Tuesday. But the predictions’ margin of error is such that it might happen closer to New York and New Jersey. Either way, the storm is expected to wreak havoc, pelting areas in its path with 10 inches of rain and powerful winds. Areas not in the storm’s direct path may still get four to eight inches of rain, and up to two feet of snow may fall in West Virginia. ”It’s going to be a long-lasting event, two to three days of impact for a lot of people,” Joseph Franklin, chief forecaster for the National Hurricane Center, told the Journal.”Wind damage, widespread power outages, heavy rainfall, inland flooding and somebody is going to get a significant surge event.”
Insurance Networking News predicts that Sandy could do billions of dollars in property damage, and already, authorities are bracing for the storm’s fury. In New York, officials reportedly are considering closing down bus and subway lines next week, a measure that was taken in 2011, when Hurricane Irene hit the city. In New Jersey, some communities already are being evacuated. To the south, in Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell already has declared a state of emergency, and urged residents of coastal areas in his state to evacuate, while warning others to stock up on batteries, blankets, water, canned goods and other necessities, in case they are caught in the storm. Delaware and Maryland have issued similar warnings.
For those who live in Sandy’s path, prepping suddenly seems like a must. Here’s the NHC’s Hurricane Preparedness page, which offers advice on how to gather information about the storm, and plan for how to protect your family, before the storm actually strikes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers this information on food and water safety during hurricanes. Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers this list of basic disaster supplies that you should amass:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
A new season of Doomsday Preppers premieres November 13th at 9P et/pt