Thursday, October 25, 2012

Will the 2012 Halloween Storm Be Even Worse than the 2011 Snowstorm?!

All of us who lived through the 2011 Halloween snowstorm in the Northeast of the US will never forget it. The photos below were taken in our neighborhood a year ago and I (re)post them as we come to mark the first anniversary. Some folks, including many friends, were without power for over 8 days -- just think -- no lights -- many without heat during unseasonably cold temperatures -- no Internet -- and no hot coffee. Food spoiled, people ran out of gas and food, and many really suffered.

This event and its response featured prominently in the course I taught last Spring on humanitarian logistics and healthcare since all students had experienced it and we heard from many professionals since it was a year of disasters. This past week I  received emails from students, even from other universities, who were hoping that I would be teaching the course again at UMass Amherst in the Spring of 2013, but I am on sabbatical, so I will not be. Although I will be offering a condensed, intense version in Vienna, Austria, where I have been invited to teach it.

I wrote a tribute to the Isenberg School of Management and UMass Amherst, which had power throughout the multiday power outage that followed.  We dined at UMass dining facilities (my students told me to come) and my husband and I hunkered down in the Isenberg School during the day and we huddled back in our heatless home at night. Luckily, our daughter's school, Deerfield Academy, had power throughout so she boarded there for 5 days and we are eternally grateful for this.

Below are photos that were taken at one of the UMass Amherst dining commons on Halloween night (needless to say there was no trick or treating that Halloween in Amherst and surroundings areas).
The latest weather reports with one titled Hybrid of Sandy, Winter Storm Threatens East Coast (sounds like another winter storm in October -- deja vu) begins with the ominous paragraph:

Much of the U.S. East Coast has a good chance of getting blasted by gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe even snow early next week by an unusual hybrid of hurricane and winter storm, federal and private forecasters say.

The article contrinues and then we have the following:

"It'll be a rough couple days from Hatteras up to Cape Cod," said forecaster Jim Cisco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction center in College Park, Md. "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting."

It is likely to hit during a full moon when tides are near their highest, increasing coastal flooding potential, NOAA forecasts warn. And with some trees still leafy and the potential for snow, power outages could last to Election Day, some meteorologists fear. They say it has all the earmarks of a billion-dollar storm.

Many of our neighbors, given the experiences of last year, have purchased generators. One started baking cookies yesterday, which she plan on delivering to neighbors with generators, in event of another power outage.

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.