Tag Archives: FEMA

What Happened When Superstorm Sandy Hit NYC

On October 29th, 2012, Hurricane Sandy came ashore just northeast of Atlantic City, N.J., with a wind speed of approximately 80 mph. The storm had the worst possible trifecta of characteristics: an extremely large diameter, strong winds and high tide at landfall, which generated massive storm surge that inundated the coast from New Jersey to Connecticut.

Record surge levels were recorded in several areas of New York and New Jersey, with over 12 feet of surge in some locations. Subway tunnels flooded, airport runways flooded, power outages occurred all along the coast, natural gas lines were broken, and when it was all over, at least 650,000 homes were damaged or destroyed from the storm. On top of the estimated 72 people in the U.S. who were killed as a direct result of the storm, many more lives were lost as a result of hypothermia, house fires, vehicle accidents and other indirect causes.

This National Geographic documentary chronicles the events leading up to and immediately after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Atlantic Seaboard.

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When Nature’s Fury and the Politics of Disaster Collide

Released in December 2012, seven years after the most expensive disaster in American history, this 95-minute documentary film gives you the round-the-clock news coverage and a comprehensive look behind the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, human error, false media reports, political corruption, government bureaucracy, and a substandard physical infrastructure.

Using comprehensive analysis of events, hours of government audio tapes, and personal interviews, National Geographic takes viewers into the eye of Katrina to uncover the decisions and circumstances that determined the fate of the Gulf residents.

One After Another After Another

The United States experiences more than 1,000 tornadoes a year.

While most storms are weak and occur in sparsely populated areas, recent storms have inflicted heavy casualties in more populated regions of the country. Moore, OK, Tuscaloosa, AL, and Joplin, MO are the most recent communities to suffer.

Tornado_Courtesy of Gene Robertson
Image: Gene Robertson, PDS Storm Chasers

Tornadoes form when large air masses of different temperatures collide; when cold, dry air runs into warm moist air, which rises, condenses into heavy rain, and then falls in powerful downdrafts.   These conditions occur most often in the Great Plains, where the high altitude jet stream from the west converges with warm, moist air moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, and warm, dry air from the southwest.

One week after a devastating tornado hit the southern Plains of Oklahoma; a similar weather pattern is being repeated.

Earlier today the NWS Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate to severe threat warning for thunderstorms, tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds, Wednesday afternoon and evening for parts of the central and southern Plains, including parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

If you live in the areas of high risk, please be alert to changing weather conditions.  Look for the following danger signs:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.

There’s an APP for That

FEMA’s ReadyCampaign and the Flat Stanley Project collaborate on an app to help educate school-aged children on the need to be prepared for emergencies and disasters, as well as what they can do to help their families and loved ones to build more resilient households.

Flat Stella and Flat Stanley Characters with FEMA hat, Flashlight and Kit Bag with Ready Logo

By downloading the app, children and their parents can build their own FEMA Flat Stanley or Flat Stella, and then share with other children and classrooms the steps they have taken to support preparedness throughout their homes, schools and communities.

According to Flatter World, 15 percent of all schools in the U.S. use the adventures of Flat Stanley in their classroom lesson plans.  And in case you did not notice, Flat Stanley’s sister, Flat Stella has joined the campaign.

 

How do you end a story about a day that will live forever?

Do you tell the death count of 24 or describe the estimated $2 billion damage to some 12,600 homes?

Do you reminisce about all the times you spent sitting in a musty cellar full of old people telling their own tornado ghost stories that frightened and intrigued you all at the same time?

Or do you admit that you intended to interview the mother of a dead boy but after watching 30 minutes of her agonizing struggle to condense 10 years of a good boy’s life into two minutes of network news, you retreated and gave both of you a break from tornado exhaustion?

Oklahoma’s Windswept Pain – by Sheila Bright

Hurricane Sandy Information Clearinghouse

“Hurricane Sandy” is an information clearinghouse for accurate, timely information related to Hurricane Sandy and subsequent recovery efforts.

This “Hurricane Sandy” Facebook page is an information clearinghouse for accurate, timely information related to Hurricane Sandy and subsequent recovery efforts.  Since Facebook has changed the way pages shows up in news feeds. If you want every update, you must:

1) Go to the “Hurricane Sandy” page.
2) Hover your mouse over where it says “LIKED” and click on “Add to Interests Lists”

If you do this, you will receive ALL of the posts and the Hurricane Sandy page will not be “removed” by Facebook from what shows up in your feed.

The Perfect $1 Billion Storm

With Hurricane Sandy churning from the South, an early winter storm barreling in from the West, arctic air sweeping in from the North and a full-moon affecting the tides, the mid-Atlantic, New England and eastern Canada, are set for a “perfect storm” early next week.   The convergence of weather has the potential to produce $1 billion or more in damage.

If you or someone you know lives within the projected areas, please share the following disaster preparedness information, as suggested by National Hurricane Center.

Before a Hurricane

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.

  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.

Read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid elevators.

After a Hurricane

  • Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross.
    • FEMA has established the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System (NEFRLS), which has been developed to help reunite families who are separated during a disaster. The NEFRLS system will enable displaced individuals the ability to enter personal information into a website database so that they can be located by others during a disaster.
    • The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed¬ out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.