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  • Hurricane Matthew Strongest in Decades

    Hurricane Matthew is heading for Florida, and when it makes landfall, it could bring “massive destruction that we haven’t seen in years,” according to Florida governor Rick Scott.

    Hurricane Matthew Path The predicted path for Hurricane Matthew

    According to CNN, Hurricane Matthew could hit Florida as soon as Thursday night. All of Florida is under a state of emergency in preparation for the hurricane. On Tuesday night, cars lined up at gas stations to fill their tanks before the storm hits. CNN reported one station had cars waiting but no gas to give. Georgia and the Carolinas are also under a state of emergency for at least some counties.

    In a press conference, Scott warns that the waves will be crashing upon rooftops for those near the surge areas, and that everyone in an evacuation zone needs to evacuate immediately. "This storm will kill you," he said. "Time is running out." The Weather Network hails Hurricane Matthew as one of the strongest storms to hit Florida in recent decades.

    Hurricane Matthew out of stock food Dried and canned goods were nearly out of stock more than 24 hours before Hurricane Matthew hit Florida - image via The Weather Network

    Hurricane Matthew is a Category 4 storm, according to Fox News, and was even a Category 5 for a brief stint and could still reach that strength before landfall. The storm’s intensity could still fluctuate as it approaches the mainland, but remember, even Category 1 hurricanes can cause massive damage. As a reference, Hurricane Sandy was a Category 1 when it came ashore in New Jersey.

    Hurricane Matthew has already made its way through Haiti and Cuba, wreaking havoc as it stormed by. According to The Weather Network, some areas were smashed by 24-foot waves, not to mention “high winds, strong storm surge and torrential downpour.”

    Twitter showed the world the immense destruction that some areas were afflicted with.



    In Haiti, Fidele Nicolas told AP that Hurricane Matthew was the worst he’s seen in his lifetime. Where Nicolas lives, many homes were severely damaged and others washed away in the raging floods.

    Hurricane Matthew in-haiti Hurricane Matthew makes landfall in Haiti - via Fox61

    Hurricane Matthew has brought about the largest humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake, which left more than 200,000 people dead. Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, initial reports suggest that more than 10,000 people are living in shelters, and hospitals are even running out of clean water.

    Thursday could be the earliest the mainland sees Hurricane Matthew. Since the time of its arrival is fast approaching, the time for preparation has all but passed.


    How did you prepare to meet Hurricane Matthew? What would you have done differently? Let us know in the comments!

    Hurricane_Blog_Banner Hurricane Matthew

  • 3 Tornadoes Hit Utah in Two Days

    My family lived in Tornado Alley for almost five years. We saw wall clouds and sheltered in place more times than we could remember. But my eldest son didn't see his first funnel cloud until he was walking to school Friday, near that hotbed for tornadoes ... American Fork, Utah.

    tornado-utah-deseret-news Tornado forming in Utah - via Deseret News

    The tornado, which formed about 7:15 a.m. on September 23, was the third to hit Utah in two days. The other two hit near Ogden, Utah, about 61 miles away and Panguitch, Utah, about 214 miles away, the day before. Utah averages about 2.5 tornadoes per year according to the web site U.S. Tornadoes. In contrast, Texas averages 146.7 per year and Kansas 92.4.

    The tornado near Ogden, an F1 on the enhanced Fujita scale, caused more than $1.5 million in damage and made more than a dozen homes uninhabitable.

    Every state and nearly every county in the United States has seen tornadoes.

    Tornadoes can cross rivers, hills, and cities. Numerous tornadoes have crossed the Mississippi River.

    Elevation doesn’t matter. A hiker photographed a tornado at 12,000 feet in Sequoia National Park, Calif., on July 7, 2004. Tall buildings won’t stop tornadoes either. Downtown St. Louis has seen at least four tornadoes, according to NOAA. The Los Angeles Basin sees as many weak tornadoes per tens of square miles as the Great Plains.

    Tornadoes mostly occur in the spring and summer. However, they hit every month of the year. “Tornadoes are like snowbirds — they winter in the South,” according to an April 22 article in U.S. Tornadoes. In Utah, most tornadoes form between May and September.

    So, knowing a tornado can hit almost anywhere in the United States, even though it’s near the end of the summer tornado season, here are some reminders of how to prepare for one.

    utah-damage-fox-13 Damages from tornado in Utah - via Fox 13 News

    The most important way to prepare for a tornado is to learn when one is coming. A NOAA weather radio can post updates on all kinds of weather. They aren’t terribly expensive either, and we have some that don’t need a plug, in case of power loss. On average, the National Weather Service issues tornado warnings 13 minutes prior to a hit, but warning times vary greatly. Therefore, the NWS emphasizes knowing the signs of a tornado. The following signs are taken directly from the NWS.

    • Strong, persistent rotation in a cloud base. (A cloud base looks like a rotating cylinder of clouds that descends below a storm.)
    • Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base – tornadoes sometimes have no funnel.
    • Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen.
    • Day or night – Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder.
    • Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
    • Night – persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning – especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.

    Second, have a plan and a place to go. That place can be in a home, in a personal storm shelter or in a public storm shelter. State Farm has a list of recommended places to go within homes and buildings.

    Third, prepare a grab-and-go bag and personalize it with things like diapers and vital records. In the Washington Heights tornado near Ogden, one man told Utah’s Fox news affiliate that part of his home was destroyed and his neighbor’s garage blew over to his property. Hopefully he had a list of possessions and other vital information and hopefully he stored it away from his home or somewhere easy to grab. Vital information can include birth certificates, medical records and insurance information.

    Fourth, be prepared for more than just tornadoes. Many parts of Utah reported hail, power outages and flooding from the two-day storm.



  • Majority of Puerto Rico Without Power Following Electrical Plant Fire

    puerto-rico-blackout-via-nbc - Puerto Rico Most of the island was without power - image via NBC

    On Wednesday, September 21, a huge fire at a southern Puerto Rico power plant caused a blackout in 1.5 million homes and businesses.

    "The entire island is without power," Angel Crespo, director of Puerto Rico's fire department, told the Associated Press.

    As of Thursday afternoon, more than a million were still without power, including my mother-in-law, Ruth Lezcano.

    She told her son Jimmy that her main concerns were lack of water and uncomfortable heat and humidity.

    The blackout knocked out pumps at water plants, leaving her and many others without water.

    Fortunately, she had water storage. She keeps five five-gallon buckets (like the “Homer” buckets from Home Depot) full of water in case of hurricanes. She’s been using a bucket for each activity that uses water, like washing dishes, bathing, and flushing the toilet.

    “She hasn’t been able to do laundry for a bit, other than light stuff she can wash in the sink,” her son said.

    The blackout left islanders uncomfortably hot. The temperature on Wednesday and Thursday in the suburb of San Juan where she lives was 87 degrees, according to Weather.com. At night, it fell to 77 degrees.

    The power loss created more problems than just temperature discomfort.

    During the blackout, Jimmy was worried because he couldn’t contact his mother via her cell phone.

    “She probably had it turned off to save power,” he said.

    We sell small generators and other emergency power equipment that are excellent during this type of emergency.

    Ready.gov recommends keeping cell phones charged and having an alternate power source. Also, have an emergency contact outside the immediate area that all family members can use to pass information about their safety.

    buying-ice-via-fox-news - Puerto Rico Locals had to buy ice to keep their food at a safe temperature - image via Fox News

    Lezcano, who is diabetic, also had to worry about her insulin. Insulin manufacturers recommend storing it in the refrigerator. Insulin supplies in use may be kept at room temperature (between 56°F and 80°F). High temperatures could cause her insulin supply to go bad.

    Ready.gov recommends that people with special medical needs make backup power plans and contact their power company before an outage so it can prioritize getting power to their home.

    Although one Twitter user jokingly compared the blackout to “The Purge,” a movie in which crime is legalized for 12 hours and emergency services are suspended, Lezcano said there didn’t seem to be any more crime than usual. She was concerned about running low on supplies: traffic was snarled, and lines were long at supermarkets and gas stations, according to USA Today.

    Police officers directed traffic at major intersections all day Thursday. Four were hit by cars.  One person was hospitalized after being trapped in an elevator overnight, according to USA Today. Another was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from a leaking generator. Broken generators also caused 15 fires around the island. All the fires were extinguished, and no one was injured in the blazes.

    Lezcano was hoping the power would return Friday. In the meantime, she sat outside and people-watched, her son Jimmy said.

    “She was bored because she couldn’t have her Netflix,” he joked.


    February - Power Banner - Puerto Rico

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