Hurricane Sandy is barreling down on the East Coast of the United States in what potentially is a very damaging storm. Multiple storm systems are colliding to create one large storm dubbed, “The Frankenstorm.” There are some great sources of information on how to prepare, where the storm is, and what state and local governments are advising citizens to do. Nine states from North Carolina to Maine have already been declared states of emergency, so if you are on the East Coast you may now be in an emergency zone. Start making your plans.
I’ve gathered a few starting places for you to find real time hurricane Sandy tracking information. While it is tempting to watch CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News for coverage, I recommend these other sources. News channels ramp up the tone of the coverage to keep you at the edge of your seat and glued to the TV. Using the sources below can help you remain peaceful as the major news channels hype things up.
If the hurricane is not already near you, but is headed your direction, take some time and prepare. FEMA the Federal Emergency Management Administration provides a resource at ready.gov. The site explains how to build an emergency kit, make a family communications plan, and what to do before, during, and after the hurricane. This resource will supply you with most of the information you need. Consider that your cell phone may not work, your power may not be available, and you may not be able to reach your extended family. Your water may also be shut off and if your home is damaged you may have to leave. Having a plan for such scenarios is important.
You should have about a gallon of water a day per person and enough food to eat. Set your refrigerator to the coldest setting while you have power. Purchase some bags of ice to put in your refrigerator, or a cooler to keep your food safe to eat longer. Fill your car with gas in case your local gas station loses power.
Tracking the storm is easier today than at any other time. While you have power, you can view the location of the hurricane online at the National Hurricane Center. NOAA is the Federal Government’s weather service and provides a tracking information website. Visit the app store on your iPad, iPhone, or Android device and search “hurricane tracking.” Some of the most complete apps can be found there. Some are paid, but many are ad supported and free.
I’ve tested the free app iHurricane HD on the iPad and it works well. Satellite view will allow you to see many different real time views of the coast, or your area. Google crisis map is also effective at showing the course of the hurricane and where the weather is currently hitting. On the crisis map, you can click to view storm surge probability, cloud imagery, and even webcams and YouTube videos. To view a text version of the basic weather announcements for your region visit this page. You may also visit Weather.com for other coverage.
To view all current warnings by state the National Weather Service provides weather.gov. Input your state and all local warnings will be shown. If you enter your zip code into the Google crisis map, warnings will be available. Select, “public alerts” on the crisis map. Also, select “hurricane evacuation routes,” to view them on the map. If you search Google with the term, “How to track the hurricane,” you can find any current warnings for your state. Search Google using your state name and your local coverage with the latest stories will be available.
This is President Obama’s statement about the federal resources he is directing in preparation and response to the storm and stating that you should look for your local state resources for specific instructions.
Hopefully, you’ve got a few more places to view for specific information on how to prepare and track the storm, while listening for local announcements impacting your state. Hopefully, you ride out the storm without and major damage and have prepared enough to be comfortable should you lose power.