high winds

Project Prepper, Part 46: Summer Storm Gear Check

In the last installment of the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I talked about “threat priorities” and how severe weather is a top one for me. I blogged:

From my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well…

The other night the Chicago metropolitan area was hit by a strong summer storm in which the local news reported 15,000 residents lost power (actually somewhat of a small number compared to other recent severe weather events around these parts). The occasion served as a reminder that I should probably perform a gear check prior to the arrival of more summertime severe weather, which is the focus of today’s post.

Emergency Alerts

I checked the operation and battery backup of my ever-vigilant Midland WR-100 Weather/All Hazards Alert Radio (now discontinued by the manufacturer but replaced with a newer model- the Midland WR-120). Everything is in working order. You should have heard the racket that device was making the other night (early morning actually) prior to/during that storm. Yeah, it’s in working order all right.

Emergency Lighting

I gathered up the various lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps in the house set aside for emergency lighting (and day-to-day tasks as well) and checked the operation of all these devices. This included:

Coleman Twin High Performance 8D LED Lantern (580 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 3D LED Lantern (530 lumens)
Rayovac Sportsman 3D LED Lantern (240 lumens)
Maglite Heavy Duty 6D Incandescent Flashlight (136 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 2D LED Flashlight (320 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 3AAA LED Flashlight (250 lumens)
Coast HL3 3AAA LED Headlamp (60 lumens) x 2
Princeton Tec Fuel 3AAA LED Headlamp (43 lumens)

All but one passed inspection, with fresh batteries taking care of the holdout.

The Coast headlamps and Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” lantern/flashlights are new additions to my emergency lighting stash, and have been working great when called upon to perform tasks around the house and off-site. Particularly those Rayovac products. These seem to be built really tough (rubber head/tail cap, aluminum titanium alloy body) and are incredibly bright. The free Rayovac batteries included with each device were a nice bonus as well.

Rayovac "Virtually Indestructible" LED lantern/flashlights- functional, tough, and affordable

Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” LED lantern/flashlights- functional, tough, and affordable

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I should also mention that in late spring, I lubricated threaded regions on the Maglite and Rayovac flashlights with Vaseline to protect threads and minimize “squealing.”

In addition, some time ago my girlfriend received two stained-glass, programmable 3D LED wall sconces as a gift from her family. We mounted one of them in our second floor hallway and it functions really well as a night light- and emergency light that doesn’t require power in the home to be on. To avoid burning through D-size alkaline batteries, I ordered a 6-pack of EBL 10,000mAh Ni-MH D-Cell Rechargeable Batteries from Amazon to partner with my trusty Rayovac PS3 Universal Smart Battery Charger. While one set (3 batteries) powers the wall sconce that’s been installed, the other goes to the charger. I’ve only started this rotation quite recently, but so far the EBL rechargeable batteries have been performing quite well.

Emergency Cooling

Other devices I checked over include two dual-powered (batteries or included AC adapter) O2COOL 10-inch Portable Fans. These worked just fine. The portable fans should make extended power outages on hot summer days a little bit more bearable.

All of this gear is strategically-positioned around the house for fast access in an emergency (and for daily use).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Items added to “Gear And Supplies” page)

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Thursday, July 7th, 2016 Communications, Emergencies, Energy, Gear, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Project Prepper, Terrorism, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Project Prepper, Part 46: Summer Storm Gear Check

Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

“As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with ‘prepping’ via a sustained ‘hands-on’ program of learning and doing, which I’ll call ‘Project Prepper.’

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you…”

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

1. Physical Security
2. Financial Security
3. Water
4. Food
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy
7. Shelter

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Severe Weather Outbreak Predicted For Chicago Area Wednesday

Looks like Chicagoland could be in for a rough ride Wednesday. From the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office website this morning:

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
1121 AM CDT WED JUN 12 2013…

WIDESPREAD SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK ACROSS THE REGION EXPECTED LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING INCLUDING TORNADIC POTENTIAL IN NORTH CENTRAL IL LATE THIS AFTERNOON…

THE EVENING TIME PERIOD SHOULD SEE THE MOST COVERAGE OF SEVERE CONVECTION IN THE FORECAST AREA AND WILL BE THE PRIME TIME FOR CHICAGOLAND. THE LOW-LEVEL JET IS FORECAST TO INCREASE TO 40-50 KT AND POINT INTO THE ONGOING CONVECTION. SOME SCATTERED CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT… POTENTIALLY SEVERE AND SURFACE BASED… EAST AND SOUTH OF THIS IS FAVORED DURING THE EVE. SUFFICIENT DEEP LAYER SHEAR AND RICH LOW-LEVEL MOISTURE WILL OFFER AMPLE WIND THREAT WITH THE ORGANIZED CONVECTIVE CLUSTERS. WITH THE SURFACE LOW PROJECTED TO TRACK EAST NEAR THE I-88 CORRIDOR… THERE IS INCREASING LIKELIHOOD THAT THE MAIN MCV/MCS WILL DEVELOP NEAR THIS CORRIDOR AS WELL. A MAJORITY OF THE EXPLICIT GUIDANCE DOES INDICATE THIS. VERY HEAVY RAINFALL AND AN ENHANCED WIND THREAT WILL EXIST WITH THIS… WHICH WOULD LIKELY IMPACT CHICAGO IN THE 6-10 PM TIME FRAME.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The Chicago Sun-Times is warning of “destructive ‘derecho’ winds blowing 75 mph, golf ball-sized hail, flash flooding and even tornadoes” on the top of its website as I type this.

Prepare accordingly. And for updates on the predicted severe weather you can visit the NWS-Chicago “Severe Weather Briefing Page” here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 Essential Reading, Water Comments Off on Severe Weather Outbreak Predicted For Chicago Area Wednesday

Nor’easter Could Strike East Coast By Wednesday

While the politicians are busy prematurely patting each other on the back and the mainstream media continues to candy-coat the carnage and conditions on the East Coast post-Hurricane Sandy, more severe weather looks to be heading into the devastated area by Wednesday. From the Associated Press tonight:

A nor’easter taking shape Monday in the Gulf of Mexico was expected to begin its march up the coast, eventually passing within 50 to 100 miles of the wounded New Jersey coastline on Wednesday. The storm was expected to bring winds of up to 55 mph, coastal flooding, up to 2 inches of rain along the shore, and several inches of snow to Pennsylvania and New York.

One of the biggest fears was that the storm could bring renewed flooding to parts of the shore where Sandy wiped out natural beach defenses and protective dunes.

“It’s going to impact areas many areas that were devastated by Sandy. It will not be good,” said Bruce Terry, the lead forecaster for the National Weather Service.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“It will not be good.”

I first blogged about this potential nor’easter last Friday.

Electric companies in the region warn that the approaching storm could cause more power outages in the coming days. From a Consolidated Edison news release earlier today:

While Con Edison continues to return electricity to customers since Hurricane Sandy moved out, the company is monitoring the rain and wind forecasted for later this week. The company said high winds and heavy rains could delay work on homes and businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy and could cause additional outages.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Mother Nature continues to be in a tizzy these days. Prepare accordingly.

Source:

“Nor’easter on track to hit weather-beaten New York, New Jersey.” Associated Press. 5 Nov. 2012. (http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2012/11/05/noreaster-on-track-to-hit-weather-beaten-new-york-new-jersey/). 5 Nov. 2012.

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Monday, November 5th, 2012 Preparedness, Supplies, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Nor’easter Could Strike East Coast By Wednesday

Hurricane Sandy Latest

WHY is everyone in SUCH a panic about hurricane (I’m calling it Sally)..? Stop projecting negativity! Think positive and pray for peace.

-American actress Lindsay Lohan, Twitter, Sunday, October 28, 2012

Watching The Weather Channel as I downed a bagel and coffee this morning, the situation on the East Coast post-Hurricane Sandy still looks pretty bad:

• 45 fatalities reported in the continental United States and Puerto Rico
• 8.5 million U.S. and Canadian electric company customers still without power
• 7 New York City subway tunnels under the East River flooded, forcing an extended shutdown of the system that shuttles more than 5 million riders to work and home every day. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it’s too early to tell how long it will take to pump them out and make repairs.
• 25,000 of the 50,000 residents of Hoboken, New Jersey, trapped in their homes and running out of essentials (New Jersey National Guard responding).
• Some New Jersey barrier islands- and their residents who didn’t evacuate before the storm- remain mostly cut off
• Total damage and lost business from Hurricane Sandy could reach up to $50 billion, making it the second-costliest storm in U.S. history after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina

Here in Chicago, now-“Superstorm” Sandy resulted in high winds, high waves on Lake Michigan, and flight cancellations/delays at the airports, but no flooding or other damage as far as I’ve heard this morning.

In my neighborhood on the Northwest Side, strong wind gusts seemed to diminish as the morning went on Tuesday, so much so that I didn’t really notice the wind during a quick trip to the bank close to lunchtime.

As for those power outages in the area that The Weather Channel was warning about earlier this week? There were none that I know of, although I did witness the lights in my pad flicker once yesterday morning.

Oh well. Guess that means I have to get off my butt later on today and put away a couple of emergency preparedness items I busted out Monday in advance of the “Frankenstorm.”

Better safe than sorry though, right?

By the way, about Ms. Lohan’s “tweet?” 8 hours ago the following appeared on her Twitter page:

My twitter was hacked, please ignore the last tweet

Nice.

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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Public Safety, Transportation, Travel, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Hurricane Sandy Latest

Chicago Prepares For Superstorm Sandy

It looks like my backed-up plumbing won’t be the only “effect” of the now “Superstorm” Sandy here in Chicago.

The National Weather Service has issued a lakeshore flood warning for the Chicago area that began at 1 AM this morning and will remain in effect until 4 PM Wednesday.

According to Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, winds up to 60 MPH could and waves as high as 25 feet are expected to impact the city’s lakeshore and beyond.

The National Weather Service is saying that waves are already reaching 17 to 20 feet high offshore- and could increase over the next 5 or 6 hours.

According to the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Chicago Park District officials closed the lakefront trail from North Avenue to Ohio Street Monday night and have also been securing beaches. The CTA is prepared to reroute buses as necessary, depending on the waves, [OEMC Executive Director Gary] Schenkel said.

And from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Amtrak service has been suspended from Boston south to Raleigh, North Carolina, and from the East Coast to Chicago. Both O’Hare and Midway Airports reported normal operating conditions Tuesday morning, without any significant delays. At O’Hare, some 270 flights to and from the East Coast had been cancelled as of 7:30 a.m., while 70 flights were cancelled at Midway.

As of now, there are no plans to close Lake Shore Drive.

Here on the Northwest Side, I’m more concerned about losing power from the high winds- and have prepared accordingly.

And as I look outside (10:27 AM Chicago time) the wind gusts seem to be picking up.

Stay safe Chicago!

Sources:

“People urged to stay clear of lakefront as Sandy makes waves here.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Oct. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-officials-warn-of-high-winds-possible-flooding-near-lakefront-20121030,0,2187506.story). 30 Oct. 2012.

“Storm Sandy winds arrive in Chicago.” Chicago Sun-Times. 30 Oct. 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/16046778-761/storm-sandy-winds-arrive-in-chicago.html). 30 Oct. 2012.

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Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 Preparedness, Public Safety, Transportation, Travel, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Chicago Prepares For Superstorm Sandy
Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
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(Memorial Day Weekend 2007-2010)

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