Tag Archives: Storm Surge

Occupy Sandy: 7.5 Months Later

Just days after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Cost, killing 72 and causing over $50 billion in damage, the Storm Surge production team met up with members of Occupy Sandy to see firsthand how volunteers mobilized to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Occupy Sandy General Assembly Meeting
Image: Stacy Noland

Tomorrow, June 14th, the group will host a debriefing meeting to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and identify recommendations for those who get involved in grassroots disaster relief in the future.

As a lead up to the event, Occupy Sandy released this short video to raise awareness.

Occupy Sandy Debrief

If you can’t make it to NYC and want to participate remotely you can watch the livestream at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4360121/events/2171140.

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What is a Storm Surge?

The greatest potential for loss of life related to a hurricane is from the storm surge!

Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level to heights impacting roads, homes and other critical infrastructure. In addition, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides.

Hurricane Specialist, Bryan Norcoss, from the Weather Channel, explains the science behind a storm surge in the days leading up to Hurricane Isaac in August 2012.

Because much of the United States’ densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level, the danger from storm tides is tremendous.

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

May 26 – June 1 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Just one week after a devastating tornado storm rips through Norman and Moore, OK, killing 24 and causing an estimated $2B in property damage, US cities now face another natural hazard, hurricanes.

June 1st is the official start of the 6-month hurricane season.  For 2013, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook suggests a 70% likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).


NOAA’s 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricanes can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts. Additionally, hurricanes can create storm surges along the coast and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events.

“As we saw first-hand with Sandy, it’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline. Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall,”  said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA acting administrator.

Slow moving hurricanes that churn through mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain and can trigger, flash floods, landslides. or mud slides.

National Flood Insurance Program, FloodSmart.gov, the Official Site of the NFIP.Individuals who live in communities at high risk of being affected by a hurricane should consider flood insurance protection.  Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage.

To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (NFIP) Web site, www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.

To learn more about how you can prepare for hurricane season, visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

How to Survive & Thrive After Sandy

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, we had the great fortune of being introduced to and spending time with Kindra Arensen, a mother, wife to a commercial fisherman, and the so-called Erin Brockovick of Southern Louisiana. 

Thomas Jefferson Community Leadership Award winner for her work advocating on behalf of thousands of commercial fishermen who lost their livelihoods, as well as their health in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill, Kindra is a straight up rock star, with universally recognized YouTube videos capturing her frank, angry and emotional accounts of her husband and other fishermen getting sick during cleanup.

In 2010, Australian 60 Minutes featured her in a piece on the after effects of the oil spill, suggesting, “This is going to affect the entire world.”  With more  than 300 interviews behind her, she’s still fighting both public and media perception of the disaster.  With a strong eye focused two the media.  “It’s a huge picture, and a picture’s worth 1,000 words.  If it’s not painted correctly, that’s one of the problems I have with the media,” she said.

In addition to the technological disaster caused by BP, Kindra has experienced her fair share of natural disasters, namely Hurricanes Dennis, Gustav, Isaac, Ivan, Katrina, Lili, Rita, and Tropical Storm Lee.  She recently shared some insights on how best to cope in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  

In her own words:

WOW Sandy slammed the east coast, the photos look like what we walked upon 7 years ago after Katrina. Most of the folks that have been hit by this storm may have never dealt with something of this magnitude.

So I will offer the following.

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Call or go online & register with FEMA.
  3. Hold on to as much cash as possible.
  4. You may be thinking omg how will I pay my bills, when you have some time call all of the companies that you have loans with and ask that they differ your payments, the last thing you need is collection calls.
  5. Remove all auto pays from your accounts.
  6. Within the first week officials will approve food stamps, registering online makes the process a little faster. I know some will not want to access fs, but right now everything will help.
  7. File claims with your home owners, flood insurance, and car insurance & on anything that has been hit.
  8. Register for email updates with your local government.
  9. Some churches will help with many things. After Katrina a church in Fla provided a home for our family for 6 months, I don’t know what we would have done without the assistance of the churches.
  10. Remember everyone will be under a tremendous amount of stress.
  11. So loved ones may be snappy. This will put a strain on many relationships. Love each other trough the madness, you will be stronger for it.
  12. If you have children, try not to watch storm coverage while they are present.

I wish someone would have told me the above when we were hit by Katrina. This situation will stay with those hit for the rest of their life, but life does go on. I hope this helps some.

Our thoughts & prayers are with you…

Kendra Arnesen

High Res Video of Hurricane Sandy

Sandy is a massive category 1 hurricane, expected to bring life-threatening storm surge to the mid-Atlantic coast, Monday evening and early Tuesday. To get a better sense to the size and scope of the hurricane, check out this high-resolution video from NASA.

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.