tornadoes

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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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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Illinois Adults Invited To Enter Contest For Free Weather Alert Radios

Illinois residents 18 years and older are being offered the chance to win free weather alert radios in a contest launched yesterday by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA). From an April 22 press release posted on the Ready.Illinois.gov website:

‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest promotes awareness; 100 radios to be awarded

SPRINGFIELD – The recent devastating tornadoes in northern Illinois were a heartbreaking reminder of the tornado risk in Illinois. To increase awareness and use of an important severe weather alerting tool, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) today launched an online quiz for a chance to win a weather alert radio.

The ‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov. The contest will run from April 22 – May 22. This is the third time IEMA and IESMA have sponsored the statewide contest.

“It’s important for people to have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings, particularly at night when most of us are sleeping,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Weather alert radios will sound a tone when a warning has been issued for your area and give you information about the approaching hazard. Similar to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, a weather alert radio can give you precious time to take safety precautions.”

A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. Winners will be announced in late May. The radios were purchased by IESMA as part of an effort to increase the use of the devices in communities throughout Illinois.

“IESMA is excited to team up with IEMA for this valuable awareness contest,” said IESMA President Kevin Sargent. “Each region of the state is affected by some type of extreme weather each year. This year is no exception with the tornado outbreak in central and northern Illinois earlier this month. IESMA believes many lives are saved each year by people being able to receive severe weather warnings from NOAA weather alert radios. Please take time to participate in this contest for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radios to be given away.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials encourage individuals and businesses to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties. When an alert is issued for that area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

More information about severe weather preparedness also is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

I just completed taking the online quiz as part of this year’s “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest. The five-question quiz is easy- but be sure to read and digest that information provided on the “Weather Alert Radio Contest” page first.

I’m a big fan of weather alert radios. Even if you don’t win one through this contest, I highly-recommend going out and getting one of these devices anyway if you don’t already own one.

Good luck! And Survival And Prosperity thanks the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) for holding this contest once again.

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

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Chicago Area Threatened By Severe Weather Thursday

There was plenty of talk tonight on the local news about the prospect of severe weather Thursday in the Chicago area and elsewhere in Midwest. Jon Erdman reported tonight on the Weather Channel website:

A multi-day severe weather outbreak, including tornadoes, is underway and will continue through Thursday in parts of the South and Midwest. Some severe weather may continue into Friday along the East Coast and South. This has the potential to be the most widespread severe weather event so far this spring.

Thursday: More widespread severe thunderstorms possible from the southern Plains to the Mississippi Valley and southern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Some supercells with tornadoes possible. There is some uncertainty in how unstable the atmosphere will become in the afternoon after morning thunderstorms rumble through the region. This will dictate exactly how much and where we see the most significant severe storms in the afternoon.

Thursday Threat Cities: St. Louis | Chicago | Little Rock, Arkansas…

“This has the potential to be the most widespread severe weather event so far this spring.”

Prepare accordingly. A couple of days ago I rounded up a number of items from around the house I might be using during/after a spring severe weather event:

Severe Weather Gear

I made sure this gear was in good working order, and added/replaced batteries as needed. I plan on storing most of these items within a bin in one location in the home going forward.

You can read the rest of Erdman’s piece on Weather.com here. And if you’re just beginning to prepare for severe weather events, Ready.gov is a good place to start.

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

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 Emergencies, Preparedness, Weather No Comments

Illinois Emergency Management Agency: Prepare For Severe Weather This Spring

A reminder from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for “local” readers of Survival And Prosperity:

IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather

February 27, 2015

Tornadoes, floods and severe storms can happen any time of year

SPRINGFIELD – Believe it or not, warm weather soon will return to Illinois. As exciting as that sounds, warmer temperatures also mean an increased potential for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding.

To help people prepare for severe weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will join with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies throughout March to increase awareness of these severe weather hazards.

“We can’t prevent dangerous storms from occurring,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “However, there are ways to prepare to help you stay safe when severe weather strikes. We encourage everyone to learn more about severe weather hazards, identify a safe place to go during storms, and assemble and maintain an emergency supply kit. These actions could help save your life or the life of your loved ones.”

Joseph said Illinois experienced 48 tornadoes in 2014, which resulted in two injuries and nearly $5 million in damage to homes and crops. In 2013, the state saw 54 tornadoes, including 25 twisters on Nov. 17, a vivid reminder that tornadoes and severe storms can happen anytime of the year.

“Although the typical peak time for severe storms in Illinois is April through June, events of the past three years have proven otherwise.” said Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Ill. “Nearly half of all tornadoes in Illinois since January 2012 have occurred during the fall and winter months. This underscores just how important it is to be ‘Weather Ready’ all year in Illinois.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding along with recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. It is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9925. Preparedness tips and information are also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter Page (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).

Visit IEMA’s website here for more information on emergency preparedness.

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

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Severe Weather, Tornadoes Predicted This Weekend

I’m rather concerned about severe weather- including tornadoes- a number of meteorologists have been warning about since yesterday. From the Weather Channel website tonight:

As is typical of spring, the threat of severe weather is ramping up from the Plains into the Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and parts of the South through early next week.

This weekend, the next weather system will begin to kick into gear and spark multiple rounds of severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes from Saturday through at least Tuesday. In fact, we could see an outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes on multiple days…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And then there’s this from Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist, on AccuWeather.com this evening:

A multiple-day outbreak of severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes, is set to begin this weekend. The outbreak is likely to be the worst of the season so far and may end up being one of the top severe weather events for the season

People will need to keep a close eye on the weather, watch for rapidly changing weather conditions and pay careful attention to severe weather and tornado warnings as they are issued.

Now is the time to review tornado safety measures with your family…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Not to be a worry-wart, but I think Sosnowski is on to something here. Please keep a close eye on the weather for the next couple of days. Get a weather radio (I bought a Midland WR-100 a couple of years back- and love it) if you don’t have one already.

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

(Editor’s note: The Midland WR-100 is discontinued. The Midland WR-120B looks like its replacement- and a very good one according to Amazon.com reviews .)

Sources:

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IEMA: First-Ever America’s PrepareAthon! To Be Held On April 30

There’s no better time than right now to prepare for those nasty spring-early summer storms we get on a regular basis here in the Chicago area and elsewhere in the state, in addition to other severe weather events that might descend upon us in the coming twelve months. To help spur Illinoisans into action, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency issued a press release yesterday regarding a nationwide emergency preparedness event that’s scheduled to take place a week from today. From the release:

IEMA Encourages Participation in ‘America’s PrepareAthon!’ on April 30
First National Day of Action Expected to Draw Millions of Participants

SPRINGFIELD – On April 30, millions of people are expected to take part in the first-ever America’s PrepareAthon!, a national day for preparedness actions sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies throughout the state are encouraging individuals, families, businesses, schools, community organizations and others to be part of the event by participating in a preparedness activity related to tornadoes or floods.

For its part, IEMA will conduct a tornado drill for 120 employees in its largest workplace in Springfield. The five-story building houses more than half of the agency’s employees and was damaged when tornadoes struck Springfield on March 12, 2006. IEMA will conduct tornado drills at its other facilities at later dates to ensure employee preparedness.

“Tornadoes and floods are two hazards we know well in Illinois,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “But just recognizing these hazards isn’t enough. It’s even more important to take action to prepare for those hazards. The national day of action on April 30 provides an excellent opportunity for people, businesses, schools and others to practice their plans.”

America’s PrepareAthon! is a new nationwide, community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions and exercises conducted twice a year. Nearly five million people already are registered to participate in the April 30 national day of action, which will focus on four specific hazards: floods, tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes. Since wildfires and hurricanes aren’t major hazards in Illinois, state activities will focus on floods and tornadoes.

The fall PrepareAthon! national day of action is set for September 30 and will focus on earthquakes, hazardous materials, pandemic flu and severe winter weather.

Anyone interested in participating in America’s PrepareAthon! can register on FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov. The site includes informational resources to help plan and conduct events.

Chicago Storm

Storm rolling into my old Chicago NW side neighborhood

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

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