Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Derecho Possible Thursday?

My colleagues at AccuWeather are already monitoring the situation.

Here is my analysis based on the Storm Prediction Center's forecast for tomorrow:
The hatched area is where wind gusts of 75 mph or greater are forecast Thursday and/or Thursday night

This would make for a storm similar to the derecho that affected the area from eastern Iowa and Chicago to Washington, D.C. then to the Atlantic on June 29.  If you'll recall, there were people without power for ten days in that case.

So, I have advice for two groups:  If you live in the hatched area, how would you handle an extended power outage? If you, for example, have someone dependent on chilled insulin and have thought about a generator, now might be a good time to follow through. DO NOT HOOK IT INTO YOUR HOME ELECTRICAL SYSTEM YOURSELF. That is a job for an electrician.  You could, however, get one that could go on your patio and plug up to two extension cords onto the generator's external outlets (see below).
Fill your gas tank today, fill up your generator, and if you have a gas-operated chain saw, fill it. Gas station pumps do not work without electricity.

At bare minimum, if you live in the hatched area, get an appropriate-sized power inverter. It will charge your cell phone, laptop, etc.

Bring in lawn furniture, trampolines and other objects that can be blown about. Plan on putting your car in the garage to protect it from hail and falling branches.

If you are planning to travel by air tomorrow. If this develops as forecast, it is going to be a real mess. Please, please read my Air Travel Crisis Survival Guide (don't worry, it is free).

While they should, I just checked and neither American nor United (I didn't check the others) have "waivers" out for tomorrow which would let you get to the airport today. They should. This is the type of situation where, by evening, it will be delaying flights across the U.S. even if you are flying hundreds of miles away.

Get to the airport early and see if they will let you take an earlier flight. If it costs a few bucks to standby, it will be well worth it.  Think about Amtrak or some other way to get there. Once the dominoes start falling tomorrow, it will be a real mess.

I will provide addition updates on the blog.

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