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October 27, 2012

Frankenstorm alerts and resources
Posted by Teresa at 02:02 AM * 33 comments

(We’re discussing the storm down in After Irene.)


The commentator to watch: Dr. Jeff Masters, sometimes known as “the Nate Silver of meteorology.” He’s definitely worried about Sandy the Frankenstorm, but he’s worried in very knowledgeable ways.


This first batch of links is heavy on Twitter feeds because they’re so useful in a general emergency. Websites give you news when you remember to ask for it. Twitter gives you news as soon as there’s news.

Weather Underground’s Twitter interface page. Local weather reports, severe weather alerts, and the individual Twitter feeds of eight meteorologists.

The NOAA StormCentral 2012 site, and the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center site. If it’s storm information, those guys have it.

NHC_Surge, the experimental Twitter account of the Storm Surge Unit of the National Weather Service.

NHC_Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center’s Atlantic Twitter account.

FEMA’s hurricane preparedness page

The FEMAregion2 Twitter account: New York, New Jersey, the Virgin Islands, and “Peurto Rico.” FEMAregion3: Philadelphia. FEMAregion1: Boston. FEMAregion4: points South.

The FCC’s and FEMA’s Tips for Communicating During an Emergency.

The American Red Cross’s Power Outage page. (See the left-hand menu for info on other emergencies: heart stops, house floods, leg falls off, children attacked by whale, etc.)

The White House Blog: Monitoring Hurricane Sandy.

New Jersey: Governor Christie’s storm preparedness site.

The NYC Office of Emergency Management is practical, effective, and informative.

NYC severe weather page.

Sign up with NotifyNYC to get email or text emergency alerts.

NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

NYC MTA status info, and hurricane announcement.

Isobars, millibars, and nearly-nude data in motion: the NOAA animated weather forecast model.

Google Crisis Response map for Hurricane Sandy. Very well executed: just click on the features you want to see.

Stormwatcher webcams.

WaPo recommends Seven apps to get you through Hurricane Sandy.’s rather nifty interactive weather map.’s Hurricane Tracker site. Lots of current videos of the storm. If the Weather Channel is running true to form, many videos will feature reporters in rain ponchos standing in ill-lit locations, shouting to be heard over the storm.

The original interactive sea level flooding map.

Comments on Frankenstorm alerts and resources:
#1 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 02:48 AM:

I've found the Android app RadarNow! handy for local storm radar, and it posts alerts from NWS too.

#2 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 10:34 AM:

Twitter feed for the NY State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. They started up with the hurricane preparedness tweets and links yesterday.

American Red Cross Hurricane App for Android There may be a version for iDevices too. It's free and looks to be well put together.

#3 ::: Hilary Hertzoff feeds the gnomes again ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 10:35 AM:

Two links - one to a NYS twitter account and one to an app on Google Play.

#4 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 10:41 AM:

And I forgot another resource I use. NOAA has a set up that allows you to track their alerts via rss and make all sorts of other information available via rss too.

#5 ::: Hilary Hertzoff wonders what the gnomes have against her ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 10:43 AM:

Two more links, both to NOAA RSS resources that I forgot to add to the first post.

#6 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 11:18 AM:

I've removed the interdict on links to and RSS feeds for the duration. Regret any increase in posted spam this may produce.

After the storm I expect the gnomes will again take interest in links like that.

#7 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 11:49 AM:

NOAA's pamphlet (.pdf) on Tropical cyclones (y en EspaƱol), with big list o' links.

New Hampshire's Ready New Hampshire page, with information and links, and a reminder that you shouldn't call 9-1-1 unless you or someone near you needs an ambulance, a police officer, or a fire truck right now. (My own thought on that is if you're unsure if someone near you needs an ambulance ... call.)

#8 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 12:04 PM:

A bit late for the current event, but for future planning:

The National Weather Service's Stormready Community program. If your community isn't part of the program, maybe find out why not.

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) pamphlet (.pdf). I've been recommending that everyone pick up a NWR for years now. In my opinion, Midland makes the best, but there are lots and lots on the market, starting around $20.

#9 ::: Brad Hicks (@jbradhicks) ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 12:11 PM:

Please forgive me if I'm being distracting, but there's something I don't "get" about all of these up to the minute, hourly, and/or continuous twitter feeds, etc: we're talking about a storm that isn't going to make landfall for another four and a half days. How many people actually have a use for 110 hours (plus or minus) worth of continuous updates? What conceivable information can there be in the first three days' worth of that?

#10 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 01:31 PM:

Brad, your general point may stand, but I'm in Philadelphia, and the alert for coastal flooding starts Sunday night-- not my primary worry-- but the "really shouldn't go out" (high winds, heavy rain) also starts Sunday night. Approximately the same for DC.

We're talking about one day, not four, for the southern end of the storm.

The good news is that they aren't expecting snow in DC.

#11 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 02:46 PM:

The coastal flood watch for Long Island starts Sunday night, too. I'm in an extremely low-lying area; if they call for an evacuation here, it will be tomorrow at the latest.

#12 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 03:38 PM:

I found some links for pet care during hurricanes and related weather-fun.

Hurricane Hints has an excellent reminder for anyone planning on taking their pets with them to a shelter:

"Proof of current vaccinations will be required for housing animals in many facilities. Make sure you have copies stored in a waterproof container with other supplies so you don't forget to take them."

How to Take Care of Pets During a Hurricane has good tips as well, including an interesting one for aquarium owners. I can't vouch for it being useful for a long power outage because I don't know how long those backup aerators run, but it does sound very useful in the short term.

I didn't find anything specific to hamsters. I guess if the power goes out and it does get cold indoors, you could snuggle the hamster to keep her warm. (Is this one a shoulder hamster? Some of the great hamsters of the past were champion snugglers.)

In the meantime, I give you this link, with hopes it doesn't come to that: hamster wetsuit and goggles.

#13 ::: elise has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 03:38 PM:

It's probably the link to the hamster outfit with wetsuit and goggles that did it.

#14 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 04:20 PM:

Brad Hicks @9, I don't know if very many people really need 100+ hours of continuous up-to-date monitoring, but there are probably a great many people who are going to want up-to-date information at the particular moment that they look for it. I might not care what the storm's doing right now, but there's a pretty good chance that at several points in the next few days I'm going to want to know what the storm's doing right then.

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 04:44 PM:

Brad, the best Twitter feeds only give you updates when there's something worth hearing.

#16 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 04:55 PM:

Another source for information - mostly explanatory - is

They're keeping track of Sandy, and currently this is a physically large storm - it's about 40 degrees of longitude wide.

#17 ::: P J Evans has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 04:56 PM:

I have some roasted-onion bagels....

#18 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 05:25 PM:

The National Hurricane Center has the Hurricane SANDY Storm Surge Probabilities interactive map up, for those in coastal areas wondering how bad the storm surge might be.

It's based on the SLOSH model, which takes both storm-specific data and local hydrology into account. As I type, the map is showing a 70-80% chance of a surge over two feet in New York Harbor between now and Tuesday evening; the chances of a surge over five feet are in the 30-40% range, while the chance of a surge over eleven feet is less than five percent.

#19 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 06:19 PM:

Brad Hicks @9 Two reasons - 1) they're not tweeting constantly, just in bursts and b) they're tweeting helpful hints for preparation (ex. some of FEMA's last few tweets dealt with having cash on hand in case the ATMs go down, making sure you have food and water for your pets and tying down lawn furniture).

A half a dozen tweets an hour doesn't make that much of a difference and use them as a checklist to make sure I've done/got everything I need to. And I won't have to go seeking them out after the storm hits.

#20 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 07:33 PM:

Brad: If the storm is large enough there will be portions of it hitting before the main body of the storm -- with attendant rain and wind. There is the storm itself and then the tail end -- more rain and wind (although in decreasing amounts).

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 09:27 PM:

The last picture here, at the end of the post, gives an idea of the sheer size of this storm:

#22 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2012, 11:08 PM:

When rampaging through the supermarket, please don't forget these three essentials!




Take care everyone.

#23 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 11:35 AM:

Stefan Jones:

No, no, it's the Emergency French Toast Supplies. Or what I call, here in the land of snowstorms, "White Things to Appease the Snow Gods". Eggs, milk, bread, and toilet paper are ALWAYS down to bare or almost-bare shelves when a storm warning comes around. True, around here, the storm warnings are usually snowstorms.

What supplies would appease the Hurricane Gods? Swirly foods? Cinnamon-raisin bread perhaps, instead of white bread? Marble cake? Those giant lollipops?

#24 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 11:48 AM:

Cally @23, there's some overlap; toilet paper is in a (very tight) spiral, after all....

#25 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 12:27 PM:

Another resource for parents of small children - Sesame Street's Hurricane Kit.

#26 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 02:13 PM:

Nassau County, Long Island has announced a mandatory evacuation of the entire South Shore, plus low-lying areas to the north. The county website doesn't seem to have been updated yet; that link is to the details on the Long Beach city website.

#27 ::: Mary Aileen is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 02:15 PM:

Gnomed, probably for a link to Nassau County evacuation information.

Would the gnomes like some milk? I should use it up before the power goes out.

#28 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 07:01 PM:

And here's the (now more detailed) evacuation info finally up on the Nassau County website.

#29 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 09:22 PM:

I'm confused. The mayor has stopped all public transit AND there are mandatory evacuation orders, in an area where many people don't have cars. Or were the evac orders issued long before the transit shut down?

Wishing the best of luck to all in the path of the storm.

#30 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2012, 11:20 PM:

No, Magenta, you're not wrong. And on this side of the river the mandatory evacs all came out AFTER the transit shutdown. If you don't have a car, they don't care about you.

#31 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2012, 01:00 AM:

Also, Weather Nerd, from the right wing side of the dial.

#32 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 11:16 AM:

Since other people might be needing this information: USDA list of what to keep and discard after a power outage - covers both refrigerated and frozen foods.

#33 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2012, 11:24 AM:

Hilary (32): Thanks for linking to that. I found it yesterday, and you're right, those charts are very helpful.

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