I've never seen anything like this and I'm at a loss for expletives to describe what this storm could do.
Yes, I've never seen anything like it either nor have our modern meteorological tools. As I wrote yesterday afternoon, we don't know whether our tools are up to the task because no storm of this nature has occurred in the modern meteorological era. With that bit of explanation, here is my forecast and advice.
It is near certain Hurricane Sandy will make landfall rather than turning out to sea.
There will be flooding rains.
Power will fail in a large geographic area. There is a fair amount of inconsistent information this morning pertaining to peak gusts, i.e., will they be 60 mph or 80 mph? But, since power often fails with a 60 mph gust, it may not matter.
Snow will likely fall and it may be heavy.
The storm surge will be destructive. Because wind speed and direction are so important, I can't offer a map of predicted storm surges yet. But, there will be areas where the combination of full moon, waves of more than 20 feet, and storm surge cause great destruction in coastal areas.
So, how should you prepare?
Here are my suggestions.
- Get prescriptions refilled now, especially if your doctor must approve the refill.
- Vote. If the stronger models are correct, power could still be out in some paces on election day. Regardless, that is one less thing you will need to do. The election will not (and shouldn't be) postponed.
- If you can get an electrician to install a generator, get it done. Do not try to install a generator yourself.
- If you don't have a generator, get a power inverter or two. Radio Shack and similar stores sell them. They are a "poor man's generator" and will keep your cell phone, laptop, and similar charged.
- Keep your car's gas tank full.
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace and you know your chimney is clear, get wood. Keep some indoors to keep it dry during the storm. You may need it to heat your home.
- If you live in a 100-year flood plain (you can check at city hall or your library) or on the coast figure out your evacuation strategy now. Make your list of things you will take with you.
- Fill a few gas cans (the type you would use for your mower) to have extra in the event of power failures.
- Purchase extra staples. Without power, stores will be closed.
- Purchase booster batteries for your cell phone and other essential equipment. If you need insulin or other medicine that must be kept chilled make plans now.
- Consider what you would do if you were without electricity for a month. If you have an invalid living with you that requires electricity, there will be areas that will be without for weeks. Be proactive.
- If you live in a heavily wooded area, does someone in your vicinity have a gasoline-powered chain saw? Does it have fuel and a reasonably good chain/blade? Test it, now.
- Get to an ATM. Without power, credit card readers and ATMs will not be working. In a disaster, cash is king.
And, if you are planning to travel by air to or through airports between Richmond-Boston Monday through Wednesday, forget it. Here is what you should do, now. Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor will likely have service interruptions.
We are in uncharted territory here. I believe this will be a major storm that will dominate the news for days. Prepare accordingly.