It's about to get ugly for anyone visiting or living on the East Coast because the storm is huge and powerful. It'll bring the big winds, plenty of rain, coastal surges.
The problem now is power. The soft ground in the East has already been saturated by heavy rains this month. More rain and a little wind will take out trees and power lines. So besides the obvious travel implications, you may be dealing with no power for several days at a time. Parts of Long Island went Eight Days without power during Hurricane Bob in 1991 -- one of the last big storms.
So what does this mean?
- You'll need to keep mobile devices powered by battery. Make sure they are fully charged and you have back-up batteries. The cell networks might go down eventually as the battery backups on towers are exhausted. So I hope you have access to landlines AND too really old phones, non-battery or electric operated -- to the landline.
- You'll need to keep in touch with news, so have a battery-operated radio handy. you need to have a hand-cranked radio, too.
- Make sure your portable PCs are fully powered before the storm hits.
- Needless to say, get plenty of batteries for flashlights and other battery-operated lighting sources. All the stores in my neighborhood are sold out.
- If you have a gas stove, great. If not, do you have a gas-powered grill? If so, make sure you have back-up propane. If you have a wood-burning oven, have plenty of wood stored in a dry place.
- Stock up on basic, non-refrigerated, non-frozen food. And if you're buying cans, make sure have a traditional can opener.
- Get plenty of water and, if you have coolers, get ice.
- If you have oil-powered lamps, make sure you have plenty of oil.
- Fill up your cars with gas. No power means no pumping gas.
- Have cash. No power means no ATMs.
- Stock up on disposable plates, cups and utensils.
- Plastic bags are priceless. The big one are great for garbage disposal and basic storage needs. The ziptop type are valuable for food storage and keeping important documents and other items dry.