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I don't have time to write a full diary on Irene right now, but I do have some disorganized thoughts I want to share with you guys before the storm starts impacting the US tomorrow.

  • The storm surge will be extremely bad. Picture yourself standing on the shoreline staring out at the ocean, then add 5-10+ feet of water on top of the ocean you see, and push that water inland. That's what's going to happen from NC to New England. In a few days, the coastline will not look anything like it does right now.
  • Do not assume that because you are not right on the coast, you'll be okay. Irene's windfield is MASSIVE. Tropical storm force winds (40+ MPH) extend over an area almost the size of the State of Missouri. The storm will start to "unravel" somewhat as it progresses northward, so the wind field will get even larger. Areas way inland will experience 40+ MPH winds.
  • The ground is extremely saturated across the northeast from record rains this year. Add possibly 10+ inches of rain to the already soft ground, mixed with winds between 40 and 100 MPH, and it will be extremely easy for trees, power lines, and anything else jammed in the ground to fall.
  • If you live on the coast, prepare for roads to be impassable for multiple days. If you're thinking about riding it out or having a "hurricane party" when you're told to evacuate, do not expect rescue crews to come to your rescue during the storm. They will not respond to emergencies if the weather gets too bad. To be blunt, rescue crews are useless if they themselves are stranded or worse.
  • If you're told to evacuate, evacuate for cryin' out loud!
  • If you're not told to evacuate, don't leave unless your house is structurally unsafe to begin with, or you live in a grove of trees that, if they fall, would kill you. If you evacuate out of anything other than absolute necessity, you're clogging up the roads for people who really do need to get out.
  • If you know someone who is vulnerable (sick, elderly, etc.) or alone, invite them to stay with you through the storm. It's much more comforting to go through a bad storm with company.
  • Do not go outside during the storm. Even though I do this regularly, do as I say, not as I do. Especially if you live in a downtown area or in an area with lots of little things (glass, mulch, roofing, siding, etc.) to fly around.
  • If you live in New York City, do not leave your building unless there's a flaming komodo dragon pointing a laser gun at you. Keep in mind that the winds are stronger in the upper levels of the hurricane. It may not seem bad to you at the ground, but 40 or 50 stories up, it will be hell and there will more than likely be glass raining down on the city for an extended period of time during the worst of the storm.
  • If you see or know of power lines down in your area, stay inside. If the lines are live and touching water, any puddle or wet ground you step in will fry you.
  • Fill up your bathtub with water. Think about it...if your municipal water goes out, you'll need something to flush the toilet with.
  • Be prepared to live without power for numerous days, maybe even weeks. There may also be no cell phone service, depending on how the towers and sources that power them stand up to the storm.
  • Pay attention to radio sources, as they will provide you with emergency information.  Don't wear down your cell phone battery checking the time or playing Angry Birds. Similarly, don't use your flashlights for anything you'll regret if it dies and you need it.
  • Store clean water safely in your home. If the storm does a number on your municipal water treatment plant, your tap water may be unsafe to drink (or may not even run at all).
  • Put your important documents (birth certificates, social security cards, passports, etc.) in an airtight zip lock bag.

That's what I can think of off the top of my head. Add things below in the comments.

Here's Irene on the satellite.

Here's the latest forecast track. Click image to enlarge in new window.

Here's the radar of Irene, the hurricane symbol is the center of the storm. Click to enlarge in new window.

Here are the current watches and warnings. Polygons including inland areas is not the result sloppiness on my part. These inland areas are under the warnings as well. Click to enlarge in new window.

7:49 PM PT: From divineorder in the comments, this is what a glassy downtown area looks like after a hurricane (Houston after Ike).

7:54 PM PT: Pet advice from SallyCat in the comments....

Make sure to stockup for your pets as well (6+ / 0-)

Critical items to add to your list:

1. manual can opener

2. Paper

    If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it is brown, flush it down old CA drought saying

3. Extra pet food, kitty litter, etc. Make sure you have access to pet carrier for evacuation. Catnip helps. Dogs...don't know...

4. Full tank of gas in the car

Cash...power is out, cash is king. Enough to buy food or emergency supplies

Be safe....

by SallyCat on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 09:47:24 PM CDT

8:00 PM PT: More good advice in the comments, this bit coming from kurious.

I'd add to move things from outside--like lawn... (0+ / 0-)
furniture, ornaments, plantars, etc that could become airborne and hit people, or break windows, and to remind neighbors to do the same.  

Get any supplies--like food, water, cash--because if power goes out, ATM's could be out of commission.  When we had a 4 day power outage, for a while many stores with electronic cash registers couldn't operate, though some places were accepting cash.  

Some other power outage tips we don't usually think about here including:

- Know where to find each utility shut off -- electricity, water and gas. Know how to turn each off. Have the proper tools to do so, and know where they are located.
- If you have an automatic garage door, check the instructions or with the manufacturer to learn how to open the door manually (without power).

- Consider keeping at least one car no less than half full with fuel; gas pumps are electrically operated and gas stations will be shut down during an outage. (However, stockpiling gasoline is NOT recommended, as gasoline is a hazardous, combustible substance.) Also, remember that portable gasoline generators should never be operated inside homes, garages, office buildings or other enclosed spaces.

by kurious on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 09:53:20 PM CDT

Originally posted to Hurricane Kos on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 07:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by _.


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