Hurricane Sandy

On TV: American Blackout

A week-and-a-half ago, I received a press release from the National Geographic Channel about a world premiere movie event that’s taking place this Sunday, October 27, at 9 PM ET/PT on the cable/satellite TV network. From the release:

(WASHINGTON, D.C. October 7, 2013) Imagine 10 days of a catastrophic blackout across the United States. No cell phone service, no ATM withdrawals, no working street lights, no available gasoline … no escape. Fact: It could happen.

On Sunday, October 27, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the lights will go out. American Blackout, National Geographic Channel’s two-hour, edge-of-your-seat movie event imagines the story of a national power failure in the United States caused by a cyberattack told in real time, over 10 days, by those who kept filming on cameras and phones. You’ll learn what it means to be absolutely powerless.

Gritty, visceral and totally immersive, see what it might take to survive from day one, and who would be left standing when the lights come back on.

American Blackout combines startling user-generated footage from recent real blackouts and disasters like Hurricane Sandy intercut with the dramatic shot footage in feature film style. Follow the struggles of ordinary Americans wrangling through the chaos, and witness one prepper family who prepared for the worst.

Who are these “ordinary Americans”? Nat Geo Channel says:

American Blackout focuses on five different storylines: A family about to have a baby in California, and using a handycam; a teenage guerrilla filmmaker in Austin; students in an elevator in Arizona using their phone cameras; a New York City couple trapped in a penthouse filming with their phone camera; as well as a prepper family in Colorado using a camcorder.


“American Blackout”
YouTube Video

Now, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance screening copy of American Blackout from the folks over at the National Geographic Channel. And let me just tell you- the made-for-TV movie was pretty gripping stuff. The wheels in my head kept turning throughout the film as I kept thinking to myself what I would do/would have done if faced with the same situations.

I really thought After Armageddon, a 2010 History Channel production, was put together quite well. In my opinion, American Blackout is right up there with it. I did have some issues with the movie (both too optimistic and pessimistic at the same time, if that makes any sense), which I’ll discuss in a future review of the special.

In the meantime, if you get the National Geographic Channel on your TV, check it out Sunday evening.

For more information about American Blackout, visit the website that’s been set aside for Sunday’s event here.

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

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What Effect Have (Post-) Apocalyptic-Themed TV Shows And Films Had On The Prepping Movement?

“i friggin LOVE “doomsday preppers”!”

-Milla Jovovich, American model and actress of Resident Evil-fame, Facebook post, November 24, 2012

Back in February 2012, the Daily Mail (UK) reported that “as many as three million Americans now fall into the category dubbed ‘preppers’- people who are making detailed plans for the end of the world as we know it.”

(Editor’s note: Most mainstream media outlets drop that “as we know it” bit out, which is a shame as there’s an important distinction to be made between preparing for the “end of the world as we know it” as opposed to the actual “end of the world” where such activity may be thought of as futile. Kudos to the the British publication for keeping this scenario “intact.”)

That the ranks of individuals taking up preparedness have grown significantly in the last couple of years while (post-) apocalyptic-themed television shows and big screen productions simultaneously exploded in popularity is probably not coincidence. As a matter of fact, it’s something the National Geographic Channel, as part of an upcoming “Blog Carnival,” is currently exploring. The American cable and satellite television channel wants to know what effect these TV shows and films have had on the prepping movement.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a strong correlation between the two. As more shows and movies of the (post-) apocalyptic genre were aired/released for public viewing, I can’t help but suspect increasing numbers of Americans bought into the idea of prepping.

I have a feeling the seed for prepping was already planted before watching such shows and films in many cases. Scientific and technological advancements in the Information Age have increased Americans’ knowledge of potential man-made and natural disasters beyond events fresh in the mind of many such as 9/11, 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, the Panic of ’08, 2012′s Hurricane Sandy, and April’s Boston Marathon Bombings. Viewing such productions on a TV in the family room or at a local movie theater might have made such threats feel closer to home, thereby prompting action.

So the TV shows and films may have served as some sort of prepping recruitment vehicle. Yet at the same time, the preppers portrayed in such media have more often than not been of the extreme sort. These individuals probably aren’t a good representative of your typical prepper, if only because there are many different kinds of preppers out there.

Not surprisingly, I’ve noticed a number of production companies and cable/satellite television channels have come under fire because of the way preppers are portrayed. I can understand why this is, as some believe such depictions only serve to fuel ridicule and potential persecution of preppers by a number of parties including the mainstream media and the government. However, keep in mind that cable/satellite television channels and production companies are part of the entertainment industry, where these extreme prepper types can be quite entertaining to watch (cha-ching!). Those behind the ridiculing and potential persecution of American citizens for merely fulfilling the federal government’s recommendations as it concerns household emergency preparedness should keep this in mind as well.

At the end of the day, it must be pointed out that preppers actually perform a major public service in the event of a community/regional/national emergency. That’s right. Think about it. Preppers strive to be able to take care of themselves, family, friends, and even neighbors in many cases in the event of a real crisis. That’s one less person or group of people public safety agencies need to attend to in a significant emergency, where resources are typically stretched thin already. Because preppers can assume this “sheepdog” role, police, fire, and other groups can focus their limited amount of resources on others (more often than not, those who didn’t prepare).

One might even argue here it should be the civic duty of Americans to prep if they can.

Imagine if every American household had a couple of weeks of emergency food, water, and other supplies socked away in case of emergency. The next time a man-made or natural disaster reared its ugly head, think how much smoother the emergency response might be, especially when compared to those recent events I listed earlier.

Returning to the National Geographic Channel’s question as to what effect (post-) apocalyptic-themed TV shows and films have had on prepping, despite often portraying more extreme prepper types (it’s just show business!), it’s my belief such productions have increased the ranks of preppers in the United States, thereby assisting public safety agencies across the United States in the event of a real disaster as preppers should be able to take care of themselves and a number of other individuals in many cases, freeing up limited resources to be applied elsewhere in the emergency response.

Thank you for doing this preppers!

And production companies and cable/satellite TV channels like the National Geographic Channel- go ahead and give yourselves a nice pat on the back as well.

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

Source:

Brady, Tara. “Fill the pool with fish and stockpile the guns: Up to THREE MILLION ‘Preppers’ in the U.S. are prepared for for the end of the world.” Daily Mail. 11 Feb. 2012. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099714/Meet-preppers-Up-3-MILLION-people-preparing-end-world-know-it.html). 20 Oct. 2013.

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Radio Appearance: Morning AMp, Vocalo Radio 90.7 FM Chicago

Last Chicago-focused post until next week- I promise.

However, this one’s not a “downer” like the other posts. In fact, I’m happy that I can share this with readers.

Back on Friday, February 8, I blogged about a terrific piece on Chicago-area preppers and guns that was done by Aurora Aguilar, a project editor over at Chicago public radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM. Published on the WBEZ website two days earlier, “Preppers: Guns are the most important tool in preparing for the end of civilization,” was the second story in a series by Aguilar entitled “Our Guns,” which are “conversations with gun owners.”

Now, later that Friday, Ms. Aguilar invited me to participate in a local show she was to be appearing on at the start of the next business week. I accepted, and on Monday, February 11, I found myself on the Morning AMp, a call-in talk show hosted by Brian Babylon and Molly Adams on Vocalo Radio 90.7 FM Chicago.

(Editor’s note: I didn’t have many details about the show beforehand, so I didn’t alert readers about the event)

From the show’s archive section on the Vocalo website:

Preppers: Preparing for the end of civilization with guns

George describes himself as “half-hillbilly, half-Viking.”

WBEZ’s Aurora Aguilar talked with George Drouillard (a pseudonym) about his preparedness plan. It maybe a devastating blizzard or a government takeover, either way George is ready with canned food, extra batteries, shovels, and lots and lots of guns. Aguilar joins hosts Molly Adams and Brian Babylon in the studio while Christopher Hill, editor of Survival and Prosperity, calls in to discuss the lifestyle choice that George has made and the community that supports it.

Brian and Molly were gracious hosts and were great to talk to. Aurora was terrific- again. As for me? I thought I could have done better, quite frankly. But I really appreciate having been given the opportunity to appear on the show and contribute what I’ve observed and learned over the last couple of years. Thank you so much Brian, Molly, and especially Aurora.

You can listen to our discussion of Chicago-area preppers and guns on Vocalo here (click on the “Play” symbol under the photo of “George” near the top-left-hand-side of the page).

By the way, before I said goodbye to the group that morning I pointed out there were still people without electricity as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast last October. CNBC noted the Friday before the interview that some 2,000 people in New Jersey and and New York were still without power from the costly severe weather event.

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

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GDP Drop Blamed On Hurricane Sandy, Republicans

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, some talking heads on the TV were saying how the U.S. economy would take a significant hit from all the destruction. I remember turning to my girlfriend and saying, “Well, there’s their out.” I went on to explain that if the economic numbers for the fourth quarter ended up being crummy, the White House would just go ahead and blame Sandy.

So while I was a little surprised to hear about the drop in GDP today (I thought enough “stimulus” was already coursing through the financial system), the same can’t be said about what the White House said this morning. Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote on The White House Blog today:

According to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis today, real GDP edged down 0.1 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, amid signs that Hurricane Sandy disrupted economic activity and Federal defense spending declined precipitously, likely due to uncertainty stemming from the sequester. This was the first quarterly drop in real GDP in three-and-a-half years (see first chart below). Over the last fourteen quarters, the economy has expanded by 7.5 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 10.9 percent. During the four quarters of 2012, real GDP grew by 1.5 percent, the third consecutive year of economic expansion.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Don’t get me started on that “economic expansion” bit, as it’s been oh-so-terrific for many Americans.

Hurricane Sandy’s economic impact and a decline in government spending last quarter is repeatedly mentioned in the blog post, leading some to believe that the Obama administration is blaming the economic contraction last quarter a good deal on that late October storm and the Republican Party. Reuters’ Mark Felsenthal wrote on Yahoo! News this afternoon:

The White House on Wednesday blamed the surprising contraction of the economy at the end of last year at least partly on Republican “political brinkmanship” for threatening to let defense cuts take effect.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said similar threats over a looming March 1 deadline when defense and other cuts take effect absent a broader budget deal could similarly hurt the U.S. economy and taxpayers.

“This is political brinkmanship with one primary victim, and that is American taxpayers and the American middle class,” Carney said at a briefing.

“Our economy is facing a major headwind … and that’s Republicans in Congress.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Since the campaign for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have consistently blamed George W. Bush and the Republican Party for the nation’s ongoing economic woes (I submit both major political parties are truly at fault and the damage began decades earlier). Believing that this strategy worked to retain the Oval Office in 2012, and based on Carney’s words today, be prepared to hear even more blamethrowing of this type going forward in President Obama’s second term.

In the meantime, the financial house of cards keeps growing more unstable with trillions of dollars of debt being continually heaped upon it.

Hurricane Sandy. The GOP. How about the “stimulus” being injected into the cancer (debt)-ridden patient is perhaps becoming less effective over time? Instead of a strong, sustainable economic recovery, we’re seeing a weak one that’s requiring constant assistance.

What QE are we on again?

Furthermore, Washington and the Fed are “running out of bullets.” It’s somewhat amazing they’ve managed to “kick the can down the road” this far.

Looking back on today’s GDP announcement and related events, it’s apparent the blamethrowers are alive and well in the nation’s capital.

And the proverbial brick wall- or our “financial reckoning day,” as some like to call it- keeps getting closer.

Be advised.

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

Sources:

Krueger, Alan. “Advance Estimate of GDP for the Fourth Quarter of 2012.” The White House Blog. 30 Jan. 2013. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/30/advance-estimate-gdp-fourth-quarter-2012). 30 Jan. 2013.

Felsenthal, Mark. “White House blames Republican ‘brinkmanship’ for GDP contraction.” Reuters. 30 Jan. 2013. (http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-accuses-republicans-brinkmanship-spending-cuts-181022857–business.html). 30 Jan. 2013.

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Preppers Under Attack, Part 1

“There are those who think the Doomsday Preppers is an extreme model of self-preparedness; I just see them as an extreme model of selfishness.”

-Valerie Lucus-McEwen, emergency manager/blogger, Emergency Management website, November 29, 2012

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that “preppers” are coming under increasing attack these days. Maybe this animosity stems from numerous reports of preppers making it through Hurricane Sandy in decent shape while many of their neighbors suffered. Or maybe it’s because modern survivalists and the fruits of their labor are visual reminders to others that they’re lagging behind in providing for their/their family’s safety in a dangerous world (Sandy was yet one more reminder that government can’t always be there for you). There’s probably envy too, where if I don’t have an emergency food supply, then you can’t have one either. Hoarder.

Since the end of November, I’ve been watching a series of posts by Valerie Lucus-McEwen, an experienced emergency manager and blogger on the Emergency Management website. In her Disaster Academia blog on November 29, Lucus-McEwen penned a post entitled, “Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish.” You can probably guess by that title that she’s not a big fan of those preppers featured on National Geographic Channel’s hit show. From that piece:

You might wonder why someone like me, who has been in the business of encouraging disaster preparedness for a very long time, is so critical of people who are doing just that. It’s because they are being socially selfish – preparing themselves and the hell with everyone else. Instead of spending time and energy making changes that would benefit the larger community, in their very narrow focus of loyalty they are more concerned about themselves.

Now, to set things straight, Lucus-McEwen’s beef in this post seems to be with the “Doomsday Preppers,” not preppers in general. She said the Doomsday Preppers were “being socially selfish – preparing themselves and the hell with everyone else.” And she does seem to have a point- in a number of cases. Lucus-McEwen falls victim to generalizing here (who hasn’t at one time or another?). Or not watching enough episodes. Because right off the bat I can think of two preppers from season 1- Preston White and Bruce Beach- who were willing to share their seeds with and provide shelter to members of their community in the event of disaster.

As for the “socially-selfish” preppers, one thing to keep in mind here that a lot of people forget (or never realized in the first place) is that Doomsday Preppers is part of National Geographic Channel’s “American Outliers” programming. So it should be of no surprise that the preppers featured in this TV series might be a little bit “different” from other preppers who I’ve heard say time and time again that they’d share their food, water, and other preps with others “until it hurts.” So much so that they’ve gone out and acquired above and beyond what they need should it come to that.

Finally, are any preppers really “socially-selfish?” After all, the preparations they’ve made to take care of themselves/loved ones/neighbors free up government resources to assist others in the community after a disaster. Looking at it this way, the argument could be made that prepping is actually a socially-responsible activity, rather than a socially-selfish one.

Anyway, Lucus-McEwen’s blog post subsequently generated a lot of “attention” from preppers. So much so she’s followed-up “Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish” with:

“DOOMSDAY Preppers vs. DISASTER Preppers- What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate”,

“Doomsday Preppers: Mea Culpa”, and

“OK, I Get It. Preppers Aren’t Selfish. I Was Wrong. I Apologize …”

Yikes.

Part 2 will be published after the weekend.

(Editor’s note: Part 2 has been published here.)

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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 No Comments

New Yorkers Eating Out Of Dumpsters After Hurricane Sandy

Trying to get a clear picture of Hurricane Sandy’s effects on New York City and the rest of the East Coast has been challenging.

If I rely on what the mainstream media has been showing and telling Americans, then I might be under the impression that U.S. President Barack Obama is masterfully-coordinating government assets in the clean-up of the region.

How did I get this impression? Well, there’s plenty of photos and video going around the Internet and on TV of the President looking all authoritative and on top of things these past couple of days, whether he’s in the White House “Situation Room” or with government officials from devastated areas.

Maybe he did take away something from the Benghazi terrorist attack (in addition to a guilty conscience, as a growing number of voices suggest he should have).

In fact, I might be convinced the recovery after Hurricane Sandy is doing just fine since New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to let the City’s famous marathon take place as planned this coming Sunday.

The thing is, I’m not convinced.

First off, it’s the more-often-than-not liberal-leaning mainstream media we’re talking about here.

As much as I hate to say it, many journalists realize President Obama doesn’t have much of a record to run on, so they’ll do anything they can to paint him and his administration in a positive light in the run-up to Election Day.

Don’t believe me? Observe how many media outlets are wording the increase in the U.S. unemployment rate today.

Thankfully, the rest of America is catching on, albeit slowly.

That Jay Leno. What a funny guy. Even he gets what’s going on.

Whatever happened to watchdog journalism?

Maybe it never existed in the first place.

Second, when I see run-of-the-mill New Yorkers getting food out of a dumpster behind a supermarket, I know for a fact the MSM is not telling the whole story.


“Hungry New Yorkers Eating Out Of Dumpsters After Hurricane Sandy”
YouTube Video

Looting, violence, flooding, power outages, food/water/fuel shortages, now dumpster diving for food. I’ve seen enough now to realize this recovery is not as smooth as it’s being portrayed.

That being said, I know a lot of people are working their butts off trying to help those poor individuals on the East Coast- President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg included. I respect that and thank them for their efforts.

But enough spin already. Show us what the hurdles actually are- one might think listening to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell the other day that donated clothes or canned goods aren’t needed for the massive relief effort- so we can get this part of America truly back on its feet again.

And fast, since a nor’easter looks to be headed their way.

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‘Panic Buying’ Before Hurricane Sandy

Speaking of tension, I’d like to take Survival And Prosperity readers back a couple of days to Sunday afternoon, October 28.

Hurricane Sandy was still out in the Atlantic Ocean.

Ignoramuses were still saying the approaching hurricane was “over-hyped.”

And one Yahoo! Finance writer ventured out into her Manhattan neighborhood to buy last-minute necessities before the storm struck.

Stacy Curtin wrote:

So, with less than four hours until the transit system closure, Whole Foods was my store of choice.

Upon my arrival to the store around 3:30 pm ET Sunday, there was a shortage of carts and shopping baskets as customers flooded the store. And so, my shopping experience began by waiting in line at the exit for the next available cart that was no longer being used…

I have this picture in my mind of exiting customers handing off their carts to arriving customers with arms outstretched like they were receiving a baton in a relay race.

Stacy’s account was an interesting glimpse at what the “panic buying” was like in New York City prior to Hurricane Sandy’s landfall- and yet one more reminder of why it pays to be prepared for these types of events.

You can read the entire piece on the CNBC website here.

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Tensions Grow On East Coast After Hurricane Sandy

Not pleased to hear about the following, but not surprised it’s happening either. From the FOX News website earlier today:

State troopers have been deployed at all gas stations along the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, where dwindling gasoline supplies are causing frayed nerves as the region endures its third full day with massive power outages.

Frustration with gas supplies topped the list of issues causing tensions to boil over in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, the states hardest hit by power outages in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Residents jockeyed for fuel at the few stations still pumping, searched store shelves in vain for batteries, struggled with sporadic cell phone service and found themselves unable to buy necessities at supermarkets.

And I just heard the “vast majority” of ConEd customers who lost electricity from Hurricane Sandy might not have their power turned back on until the weekend of November 10-11.

Oh boy.

You can read the rest of the FOX News article on their website here.

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Looting In New York City After Hurricane Sandy

We are supposed to come together as a community during times of crisis, not pick at each other like vultures. Next time I’m getting a gun.

-Roy Troyano, owner of Joann’s Discount Wine and Liquors, Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, in a New York Daily News article earlier today

I figured it was only a matter of time before the looting started in New York City and elsewhere along the storm-ravaged East Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Joe Coscarelli wrote in a brief piece on the New York Magazine website today:

During this trying time, most New Yorkers are doing their absolute best to help people out and be polite. Unfortunately, there have also been numerous reports of looting from Coney Island to Queens.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

And from Nancy Dillon and Matthew Lysiak on the New York Daily News website today:

A wave of looters followed the Sandy storm surge in Coney Island, creating a double-whammy for business owners trying to pick up the obliterated pieces.

The thieves started down Mermaid Avenue Tuesday morning as the chest-high water receded, turning the seaside community known for its hotdogs and tourist attractions into a lawless free-for-all.

According to one store employee at the famous tourist spot, 50 to 100 people took part in the looting spree.

Finally, Emily Anne Epstein and Adam Shergold wrote on the Daily Mail (UK) website Wednesday:

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has called on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to put a stop to the looting ravaging South Brooklyn.

Police have so far arrested nearly a dozen people for the crime, but Mr Markowitz said that the FDNY, police, and other first responders are overwhelmed in the borough and desperately need relief…

Although there have only been reports of a dozen or so arrests related to lootings, media coverage and online accounts indicate the actual problem is much more widespread.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The Daily Mail crew did a real fine job illustrating the looting problem going on in New York City. Check out their work here on the British paper’s website.

Sources:

Coscarelli, Joe. “Reports of Looting Follow Hurricane Sandy.” New York Magazine. 31 Oct. 2012. (http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/10/reports-of-looting-follow-hurricane-sandy.html). 31 Oct. 2012.

Dillon, Nancy and Lysiak, Matthew. “Looters target Coney Island after Sandy sweeps through.” New York Daily News. 31 Oct. 2012. (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/looters-target-coney-island-sandy-article-1.1195080). 31 Oct. 2012.

Epstein, Emily Anne and Shergold, Adam. “‘Even momma got outta house to loot new shirt’: Looters brag on Twitter.” Daily Mail. 31 Oct. 2012. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2225663/Even-momma-got-outta-house-loot-new-shirt-Looters-brag-Twitter-stealing-flood-hit-stores.html). 31 Oct. 2012.

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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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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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Hurricane Sandy: So Much For The Hype

Here in Chicago I was suffering one “effect” of Hurricane Sandy long before anyone on the East Coast.

The plumbing backed up in my residence yesterday morning.

A silver lining from the ordeal was that I was able to catch a lot of TV coverage of Hurricane Sandy while sticking around my pad and coordinating the repair.

As it turns out, the severe weather event wasn’t all hype- as some were predicting.

Here are some of the latest reports coming in from the East Coast:

• Sandy made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone on the south coast of New Jersey near Atlantic City at 8 PM with top sustained winds of 80 MPH
• Severe, widespread damage is being reported as the result of high winds, flooding, and in some cases, fire
• 17 people have been killed by the storm
• 8 million homes in the region are without power
• New York City’s three major airports remained closed
• 7 area subway tunnels are flooded. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the storm caused the worst damage in the 108-year history of New York’s extensive subway system
• Trading at the New York Stock Exchange was canceled again Tuesday
• Blizzard conditions are pummeling the Appalachian region
• Coastal flooding is expected to continue through additional tide cycles into Tuesday afternoon

“All hype.”

Next time some clown blurts out some severe weather forecast is being hyped-up, ask to see their credentials as a meteorologist before taking them seriously.

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Hurricane Sandy Preparations

(Update: Just got done watching The Weather Channel after eating a late lunch. They’re telling viewers Hurricane Sandy starts now (2:40 PM ET) and to hunker down. Good luck everyone.)

One of the potential severe weather events I used to write about in my old blog, Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” were hurricanes rolling up the East Coast of the United States and impacting the Mid-Atlantic/New England states.

From what I remember, these blog posts weren’t too popular, despite some hurricane experts saying such storms could visit the area with increasing frequency in the coming years.

I’m guessing since hurricanes didn’t hit this part of the country often enough, and not too many people were still around who were old enough to really remember the “Long Island Express” of 1938, such a threat didn’t register on area residents’ radar.

Then Hurricane Irene visited the Northeast in 2011. From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website:

Irene first struck the U.S. as a Category 1 hurricane in eastern North Carolina, then moved northward along the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Wind damage in coastal North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland was moderate, with considerable damage resulting from falling trees and power lines. Irene made its final landfall as a tropical storm in the New York City area and dropped torrential rainfall in the Northeast that caused widespread flooding. More than 7 million homes and businesses lost power during the storm, and Irene caused at least 45 deaths and more than $7.3 billion in damages.

Irene was the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since Ike in September 2008 and was the most significant tropical system to make a direct landfall in the Northeast since Hurricane Bob in 1991.

Despite all the carnage from Irene, a number of inhabitants from this area claimed the storm was “overhyped.”

Enter 2012- and Hurricane Sandy.

From what I saw on The Weather Channel this past weekend, some are taking this threat to the region seriously, while others- not so much. At one point Saturday morning, The Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams was on location at an oceanfront hotel in Delaware and seemed to suggest that local residents were taking the approaching storm- and preparing for it- in stride. Saturday afternoon, TWC’s Jim Cantore was down in New York City’s Battery Park, where visitors were going about their business as if the “Frankenstorm”- as some in the media are calling it- wasn’t headed their way. Last night, The Weather Channel visited a grocery store in Chatham, Massachusetts, saying that “last minute shoppers were stocking up on hurricane supplies,” although shelves still looked stocked with plenty of bread and bottled water. One shopper even went on camera and informed viewers she was stocking up essentials- wine, cheese, and crackers.

And consider the following from the ABC News website this morning:

Many forecasters expect Hurricane Sandy to be the storm of the century, a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.

Such dire warnings conjure up images of disaster movies such as “The Day After Tomorrow” or “The Perfect Storm,” but some New Yorkers have heard it all before, and they’re not buying it.

“Good Morning America” found New Yorkers who don’t believe the hype.

Part of the reason is that last year’s much-hyped Hurricane Irene was a non-event in New York, although it did a lot of damage to the city’s outlying areas.

Anyone else getting the impression a lot of people aren’t taking Hurricane Sandy seriously?

On the flipside, a quick look at the prepper/survivalist website SurvivalistBoards.com late last night revealed there are plenty of other Americans who are prepared for what Mother Nature throws at them. And if Sandy fizzles out- great. Their attitude is at least they’re ready for the next potential emergency or disaster down the line.

Good for them.

Prepared or unprepared, I pray for everyone in the path of the coming “superstorm.”

Stay safe!

Source:

“Hurricane Sandy: Some Don’t Believe the Hype.” ABC News. 29 Oct. 2012. (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-people-dont-believe-the-hype/). 29 Oct. 2012.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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