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Good luck with Sandy

With post-Sandy comments

You folks on the mid and upper east coast — batten down the hatches and good luck with that b***h, Sandy.

I hadn’t been taking the Sandy reports very seriously. (How many media-touted mega-storms fizzle every year?) But this morning I heard a normally dispassionate meteorologist here in the west compare Sandy to The Perfect Storm of 1991 — only worse. Then he likened it to the west coast’s Columbus Day Storm. That one remains the biggest “wind event” to hit the U.S. since records have been kept; even the fringes of it, which I experienced as a kid, were monumentally memorable.

So best hopes to you all, my friends back there, and also to you I don’t know. Hope your generators are primed, your fuel stores freshly topped off, your emergency kits ready, your water storage checked … and I hope you don’t turn out to need any of it.

It does sound like a monster’s headed your way.


  1. just waiting
    just waiting October 26, 2012 11:45 am

    Been watching it and this looks like its gonna be another good one.

    We were out of power 9 days last year after the October snows, but being ready for it, its just a blip. We always figured its just part of country life. Like you said, gen is primed, gastanks all full, chainsaws all sharp, got candles from DT (thanks Claire!), concrete blocks on the beehives, just got an extra bag of charcoal, we’re set.

    They’re tracking it hitting right about here, so now we’re just waiting to see what happens.

  2. David
    David October 26, 2012 12:04 pm

    Sure, rub it in–my generators are 4000+ miles from here. We have a couple of inverters with us, though, and cars. Close enough for anything short-term.

    Given that we get power outages in MD near DC whenever the wind blows a little bit, there’ll probably be some silliness. I also have rice, beans, water & an alcohol stove. Basically we’re okay for a month or so regardless of utilities & grocery stores. Plus getting here requires an inconvenient climb, so what the heck…we also have popcorn in case anything interesting is going on.

  3. Kyle MacLachlan
    Kyle MacLachlan October 26, 2012 2:58 pm

    Well , we survived Irene last September; she dumped 14 inches of rain in 24 hours and was billed as a “500 Year Flood Event”.
    Google “Prattsville, NY” and look at the pictures!
    Everyone around here is stackin’ and packin’. Let’s hope that the forecast is wrong.
    Thanks for the well wishes!

  4. jed
    jed October 26, 2012 3:16 pm

    Well, serendipitous that you’ve been writing the prepping series.

    I was just 2 when the Columbus Day Storm hit. So, I don’t remember it, but I remember people talking about it. Hmmm. I wonder if my mother has some photos.

  5. Pat
    Pat October 26, 2012 3:20 pm

    All hatches battened down here in VA, and I’m ready to bug-in (as are the neighbors, judging from the cars in the grocery parking lot).
    Weathermen in my area are remarkably nonchalant about Sandy; ususally they’re quick to cry ‘the sky is falling’, but they seem to feel it will essentially bypass us before it turns inward. Right now, the worst they’re predicting is rain on Sunday with winds about 20-30 mph and gusts to 40. Just a good storm, according to them.

  6. Richard
    Richard October 26, 2012 4:30 pm

    Take it serious, Im on the Florida treasure coast and even though hurricane is far off the winds have been nonstop 40-60 MPH. I don’t see it getting better up north with the cold hitting all that moisture. Be prepared. Eternal vigilance as Mad Eye would say.

  7. Bonnie
    Bonnie October 28, 2012 11:09 am

    “good luck with that b***h, Sandy.”

    That storm could be male – the name Sandy goes either way. 🙂

    I, too, remember the Columbus Day Storm. I was at the right age (& wierd enough) to think it was loads of fun. But because of it, I’m quite respectful of the power of falling trees.

  8. MJR
    MJR October 28, 2012 4:55 pm

    The weather guys say that we in Ontario may be hit with ‘a snow event’ as a result of this frankenstorm. I say bring it on! Chain saw, snow blower, camp chef and all the other little items my wife and prep with when something wicked this way comes are ready. Most likely we will start building an arc because of the rain and wind…

  9. Sam
    Sam October 29, 2012 4:12 am

    Its tendrils have just reached us as the wind and ran are starting…I working a triple because everyone else called in ‘sic’. So hopefully things will stay calm long enough for me to drive the 40 miles home!
    Everyone take care!

  10. just waiting
    just waiting October 29, 2012 9:58 am

    The breezes started about 5 hours ago, but its not supposed to get bad for another 12 hours. Power went out at 10, but surprizingly came back on at 12.

    My folks have a beach house on the barrier island (just below where Al Roker on the Weather Channel is airing in Pt Pleasant), about 20 miles north of the expected landfall site. The island is about 1000-1500 ft wide at points. There are already breaches. This could be a coastline changing storm.

    I don’t think they’re going to be able to say they have a beach house come Wednesday.

  11. Claire
    Claire October 29, 2012 10:19 am

    Thanks for the reports from the Sandy zone. Keep ’em coming as long as you can.

    JW — I feel for your folks. But then, I expect that anybody who builds on a barrier island knows it might only be a matter of time.

    I tried counting up the number of people I know who are directly in Sandy’s path. Pretty alarming. Some of my favorite people, some of my favorite members of the Living Freedom Commentariat. All well-prepared, though, I’m sure.

  12. UnReconstructed
    UnReconstructed October 29, 2012 12:13 pm

    Winds pickin up. About 40 mph. Rain heavy at times. Eye is due to pass right overhead in about 12 hours. Supposed to make landfall about 8pm

    Still have power…knock knock.

    Southeastern PA.

  13. Pat
    Pat October 29, 2012 12:18 pm

    VA coast is getting a lot of rain and wind – none of it as forceful as a hurricane – and are actually getting a second go-round today as it turned north and swung closer than when it was coming up the coast originally. But *so far* we’ve had no loss of electricity in my town. Damage is mostly tidal flooding.

    This is a true nor’easter – even though it started as a hurricane, it’s structure altered so the center has broken up and spread the winds over a larger area.

    Good luck to you people further north… I understand DE, eastern PA, and NJ will get the brunt of it first.

  14. UnReconstructed
    UnReconstructed October 29, 2012 12:29 pm

    correction…supposed to make landfall about 6pm. Still have power knock knock.

  15. Claire
    Claire October 29, 2012 12:30 pm

    Thanks, Pat and UnReconstructed.

    Good info on the structure of the storm, Pat. Helps explain the “superstorm” structure. Here’s a comparison between Sandy and Irene. Whew.

    UnReconstructed, you’re one of the people seriously in my mind. Even though I know you’re well prepared, you’re one of a number of folks hereabouts who live dead spot on in the path of this beast.

    I heard from another “dead centerer” earlier who takes a somewhat different attitude toward preparedness than many hereabouts. Perhaps he’ll pop in later and share his inventory of storm supplies. Beer and pretzels were his staples, as I recall.

  16. Jim Bovard
    Jim Bovard October 29, 2012 12:42 pm

    Thanks for the good wishes, Claire. I’m not worried because I know that if SHTF, FEMA will be speedily on the corner to take care of all of us.

  17. Jim Bovard
    Jim Bovard October 29, 2012 12:51 pm

    OK, I’ll be serious.

    I just finished baking a bunch of potatoes and drawing out a water supply.

    Got a case of beer cold…. half a cooked chicken, 2 fresh jars of almond butter, whole grain pretzels, 5 pounds of really good (but not expensive) peanut butter, a pound of pistachios and Brazil nuts, tomatoes, hummus, green pepper, lots of oat cereal, cheese.

    And fully stocked on .357s, .38s, etc. ammo.

  18. Claire
    Claire October 29, 2012 12:56 pm

    Jim — But if Romney wins the election, he’ll abolish FEMA! Then we’ll all perish!

  19. UnReconstructed
    UnReconstructed October 29, 2012 1:17 pm

    wind picking up a LOT….rain about horizontal. Still got (knock knock) power.

  20. Jim Bovard
    Jim Bovard October 29, 2012 1:18 pm

    Claire, I suspect that Romney would not even abolish “Big Bird” if he gets elected.

  21. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty October 29, 2012 1:32 pm

    It’s just not FAIR… 🙂 We could sure use some of that rain here in Wyoming.

    You can keep the wind, however. We have plenty. 🙂

  22. UnReconstructed
    UnReconstructed October 29, 2012 1:35 pm

    I just saw that the pres and mayor Nutter ( philly mayor)were on TV telling us that the gubbmint stands ready to help, and that we should obey all evacuation warnings.

    Now I’m worried 😉

    Loading mags now, the zombies are already on their way….

    Still have power (knock knock)

  23. Claire
    Claire October 29, 2012 1:45 pm

    “Now I’m worried 😉

    Loading mags now, the zombies are already on their way….”

    LOL, UnReconstructed. Which would be worse — the zombies or FEMA reps arriving at your door to “help” you?

  24. UnReconstructed
    UnReconstructed October 29, 2012 2:20 pm

    I’ll take the zombies (not that theres much difference)

    Wind still picking up. Still have power (knock knock)

  25. FishOrMan
    FishOrMan October 29, 2012 10:51 pm

    Living in the Pacific Northwet, I used Sandy to prepare a little more of my own supplies. Called up the brother earlier, (although a ways inland he lives right in the path of Sandy), he spent the day off running to Office Depot to buy a new office chair??? We, as a nation, are so far from reality it is gonna hurt so very bad one day.

  26. EN
    EN October 30, 2012 12:02 am

    ForM, I’m very proud to have guided a number of people on the East Coast to Prepping Jesus in the last few years. They are ready and (and oddly) confident. But the extended families are their biggest detractors. They all seem to believe they will be taken care of by government. You have to wonder about people at times??? However, things are changing in a big way (I only started paying attention after Claire mentioned it) and people may be starting to get it at all levels… even in the government. My father told me today that he’s been getting all kinds of flyers and mail from local government and his power company on making preps for food, water and meds, three days minimum but three weeks is better. He made me laugh today when he told me, “Every government agency in the US is starting to send me stuff on being prepared, including the power company. Looks like you’re no longer the craziest Gottdamned @$$hole in the land. Suddenly you’re normal!!!” I’m probably not normal, but it does look like we’ve become much more mainstream in the last few years. People are starting to take action.

  27. clark
    clark October 30, 2012 5:23 am

    I’m a bit surprised to see two posts about the supposed hurricane, it comes across as a bit too much like the fear-mongering the goberment nitwits are doing – are always doing. [I’m not finger pointing or anything though.]

    ZThe contrast between the way Becky Ackers describes certain colonial era americans vs. the way americans behave today, is vivid:

    Hurricanes, Eighteenth-Century Style

    and… the wussification of americans is just astounding when you look at the fact the subways and such were never closed in decades past:

    Goodbye, Cruel World

    I love a rainy nite.

  28. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 6:48 am

    clark — There’s a big difference between fear-mongering and acknowledging the reality of a huge storm (which, in fact, turned out to be worse in some ways than predicted) barrelling right down on one’s friends.

    I read Akers’ article about the starving soldiers. You can find survival stories like that today, also. What you can’t do is extrapolate from the experiences of one group to entire populations. I also read her article about the subways. Since the subways did, in fact, flood (and rather dramatically), I wonder how she’d be talking this morning if the city had kept the subways open — and hundreds or thousands had died? Or even just been trapped and in peril?

    I’m not defending government and certainly not defending fear-mongering. I hope I am defending common sense and sensible precautions. AND checking on the well-being of friends and acquaintances.

  29. Laird
    Laird October 30, 2012 8:11 am

    Just Waiting, from your description it sounds like your folks’ beach house is on LBI. Mine is there, too (right where the ocean cut through in the last great nor’easter in 1962). Still waiting for word, but I have heard the it cut through the island in North Beach. Not good.

  30. Matt, another
    Matt, another October 30, 2012 8:20 am

    Preparations are for naught, when the angel on your shoulder pisses in the pan of your flintlock.

    Always have a plan B.

    Still waiting to hear from freinds and relatives along the coast. Sister from east PA checked in, no power, lots of wind and rain, but the cell towers still functioning. Her location is nicely blocked from the brunt of the storm by NJ.

  31. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 8:26 am

    Thanks, Matt. Good point about Plan B.

    Sounds as if very few got badly hurt. But noticing the people we’re not hearing from in comments this morning, those power outages are widespread. NJ, PA, MD, ETC. Hope the outages are at least of short duration.

    Wouldn’t want Jim Bovard to run out of cold beer. 🙂

  32. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 8:27 am

    Laird (and JW), keep us posted about those houses on the shifting sands. Laird, is that your own beach house? Or a family home?

  33. clark
    clark October 30, 2012 10:32 am

    I did say, “a bit too much like” I didn’t say, “exactly like”.

    Yes, it is possible to “extrapolate from the experiences of one group to entire populations” but I won’t go into that now.

    C.W. asked. “I wonder how she’d be talking this morning if the city had kept the subways open — and hundreds or thousands had died? Or even just been trapped and in peril?”

    I imagine she would likely say something like Bill Anderson wrote today, “We Are Too Stupid To Act Without the State”.

    Or perhaps she’d say something similar to what Robert Wenzel wrote:

    “It was a long time ago, but the subways were once private. If they had stayed private they wouldn’t be in the poor shape they are in today. Mayor after mayor failed to spend the money that a private firm would have spent to keep the subway in tip top shape, now it is a rat infested mess. Think about that New Yorkers when you have to walk three hours to work while the City tries to find replacement parts for 100 year old equipment. ”

    “What is important to recognize, however, is that the low level emergency revealed just how unprepared the city is for a major catastrophe that includes the loss of power.” …

  34. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 10:55 am

    I’ll agree that NYC seemed pretty poorly prepared for Mother Nature, to the other two articles I’d say theory is great and I don’t disagree with it, but in the last few days people and politicians had to deal with what is, not what might have been or what ought to be.

    Of course, politicians have put themselves into exactly the sort of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” predicament they deserve. Whatever should be, it’s certainly true that politicians and bureaucrats have asked people to rely on them in ways that go beyond their ability to deliver — such as predicting the impact of storms. So they do “too little” (Ray Nagin in New Orleans) or “too much” (Nanny Bloomberg in NYC) and they get damned by somebody or another.

    I completely agree on private infrastructure and on regular people using their common sense. But even that doesn’t always work (see Johnstown Flood for a famous example). Meantime, given the realities, it doesn’t appear that New York officials were wrong to close down the subways and order evacuations.

  35. M
    M October 30, 2012 11:02 am

    For a beautiful perspective on what the winds are doing across the U.S. (nice art project): wind map

  36. Pat
    Pat October 30, 2012 11:42 am

    Put your cursor on any spot of the map, and it tells you the wind speed at that area. Neat!

    I’m not surprised to see all that wind on the eastern side – I think it was a cold front blowing in from WNW against the hurricane that broke it apart; and while tracking it after the storm had left my area, I saw a lot more wind from every direction than would ordinarily exist.

    The East Coast at least may get a lot of cold weather and wind this winter.

  37. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 11:51 am

    Thanks, M. That map really is stunning. I tried to look at it yesterday after it made the rounds on Twitter. Wouldn’t load for me then, but now I can see it. Elegant — and still more than a little scary for those in the east, I’m sure.

  38. naturegirl
    naturegirl October 30, 2012 1:22 pm

    That is a cool map, thanks M! This will prove my constant complaint that it never stops blowing dirt around out in the west….

    I don’t envy any east coast people who have to clean up dirty flood water….especially in the cold (or snow, if that ends up coming at them next)….been there, done that, and never want to again……

  39. UnReconstructed
    UnReconstructed October 30, 2012 2:24 pm

    All is well here. Still raining. Lost power for less than 10 min. We did lose cable, and its still out. So no landline, no TV ( no loss there) and no Internet (SHRIEK). A few trees down, no property damage to speak of. Hope everyone else fared as well or better.

  40. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2012 2:32 pm

    Whew. UnReconstructed. Glad to hear from you.

    But NO INTERNET? OMG. Tragedy! Disaster! FEMA, FEMA, FEMA, where are you???

    Also heard from a friend in MA. Other than a downed tree that damaged a neighbor’s rather valuable property, they did okay, too. No word yet from NJ. Some of those folks, especially on the coast, really, really, really got beaten, I hear.

  41. Jim B.
    Jim B. October 30, 2012 9:02 pm

    Got up a bit late today, primarily because I knew ahead of time I wasn’t working today. Had some tv and Internet for a little while til they both went down the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. Finally got the Net back a little while ago.

    Also saw this:

    Interesting thing about memorizing the phone numbers.

  42. clark
    clark October 31, 2012 6:57 am

    Hm, Becky Ackers responds to her critics, I wouldn’t classify them as theories, I’d say they were well known facts:

    “… the State’s stranglehold on the city’s infrastructure and its fascist running of various industries such as transportation horrifically worsens a bad situation — especially for the poorest and most vulnerable among us. …

    The State has once again exceeded any anarchist’s lowest expectations.”

  43. EN
    EN October 31, 2012 2:58 pm

    Of course. I often get asked why a city boy who loves the city would go rural. It’s a no brainer.

    Chaos Reigns in Brooklyn During Sandy Cleanup

    by William Bigelow 31 Oct 2012, 10:56 AM PDT 58 post a comment
    Chaos reigns in Brooklyn, N.Y. as major storm Sandy’s savage assault on the area left some of the residents free to loot Coney Island.

    On Tuesday morning, the Mega Aid Pharmacy found the store’s interior destroyed and more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items stolen by looters. Most of the stolen goods were prescription medicines.

    Other shops on Mermaid Avenue also suffered; one worker at Mega Aid said, “The water went away and these people started walking down the streets and just robbed stores.”

    The pharmacy’s manager, Stan Gutkin, was disconsolate: “I don’t even know what it’s going to take until we’re operational. This breaks the business. I don’t even know where to start.” Reports said that looters stole from banks, pharmacies, and other shops.

    Even the police acknowledged how bad the situation was. One officer said, “It’s getting dark, and it’s real dangerous out here — that’s why there’s a cop on every block.”

    At the Ocean Towers housing project, two women got in a fistfight while other residents threw objects at the police who tried to stop the fight. One resident said, “People are turning on each other — they’re attacking each other. Even when there’s no disaster, this building is disastrous. But after the hurricane, it just got crazy.”

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