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  • Hurricane Hermine Strikes Florida Following a Decade-Long Drought

    Hurricane Hermine Flood Hurricane Hermine - via BBC

    It happened. After a decade of relative calm, Florida was hit by a hurricane.

    Despite only being classified as a Category 1, Hurricane Hermine did some big damage, cutting off power for over 250,000 people in Florida. Despite the widespread power loss, NBC reported nothing was life threatening as far as damage was concerned.

    Flooding in Florida has turned the roads into dangers. One region received more than 9 inches of rain from Tuesday before Hermine even made landfall. After Hurricane Hermine has since weakened into a tropical storm, but major flooding – including flash floods and river floods – threaten parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

     

     

    Even though Hurricane Hermine has been downgraded into a tropical storm, it’s still dangerous with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour. CNN thinks it could even stall off the East Coast for days once it passes the Carolinas.

    According to Rick Knabb, hurricane center Director, “the most frequent cause of life…is from inland flooding due to heavy rainfall.” So just because there is no longer a hurricane doesn’t mean the threat is over. Be aware of the watches and warnings issued for your region. And if there is flooding, stay away. “Turn around, don’t drown” is NOAA’s slogan when it comes to floods. Remember, even just 6 inches of moving water can knock an adult off his feet, and 12 inches can carry away a car.

    Hurricane Hermine is expected to continue travelling up the coast and should reach Boston by Monday, if it makes it that far. This will increase the flood risk of all coastal states due to rain and storm surges. If you live along that route, make sure you have the necessary gear and supplies in case you need to weather the storm. If you’re not in that area, then now’s a great time to prepare for another disaster that could come your way without warning.

     

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    Learn all about hurricanes here: Everything You Need to Know About Hurricanes

  • Portable Water vs. Stationary Water

    When it comes to water storage, there are essentially two kinds: portable and stationary. Either you can transport it with you easily, or it’s staying put. After all, just one gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds, which means carrying around even five gallons would weigh you down quite a bit, not to mention 15 or 55 gallons. So what’s the best method of emergency water preparation for you? Let’s take a look at the differences and let you be the judge.

     

    Portable Water

    As you might expect from the classification of portable water, this is water that is easily carried should you need to bug out. As mentioned above, however, water is pretty heavy (8.34 pounds per gallon), so you certainly wouldn’t want to be forced to carry it far. Even if you were, you would be hard pressed to carry more than five gallons.

     

    Water Output and Weight Comparison

    Katadyn Pocket Water FilterTo counter the weight issue, you may look into a water filter. Water filters weigh much less than water and can produce anywhere from 300 to 13,000 gallons of clean water (depending on the filter) before needing a new replacement cartridge. Compare this water output with its weight and any water filter is the obvious option for portable water options. For example, the Katadyn Pocket Water Filter pumps out up to 13,000 gallons of drinkable water, and the filter itself only weighs 20 ounces. That’s not bad at all, considering 13,000 gallons of water in barrels would end up weighing 116,220 pounds. That’s over 58 tons of water!

     

    Cost per Gallon

    Price point is also something to consider when investing in water storage options. These water can cost more than a water barrel, but in the long run, they do produce more clean water. For example, the Katadyn Pocket water filter ends up costing just $0.02 a gallon. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that!

     

    Pros and Cons

    Katadyn Hiker ProWater filters are small and lightweight, making them an ideal grab-and-go option in case of emergency. Because of their size, water filters are also a great portable water option for backpacking and camping. Also, water filters let you drink safely from most any water source. Lakes, rivers, and even puddles – any of which you wouldn’t drink from normally – can become your new watering hole. This is especially important if you’re in need of water but your municipal source has shut off for one of many reasons. And, as mentioned above, the cost per gallon can be very low.

    Water filters are great tools to have on hand. However, they aren’t always the most convenient. Instead of pouring your water into a bottle, filling it in mere seconds, it can take longer to produce that same amount of clean water directly from your filter. Some filters pump out up to a quart a minute. Still, considering it’s cleaning the water as it fills your containers, that’s still not too bad.

    Also, water filters don’t do much good if there’s no water to filter. So if you’re in an area where water (i.e. lakes, rivers, etc.) are sparse or drought stricken, filters may not be the most effective method of acquiring water. That being said, it’s always a good backup.

     

    Stationary Water

    There aren’t many situations where you’ll be forced from your home. However, you may very well have to hunker down inside for one reason or another. Or, your municipal water supply could become contaminated (think Flint, Michigan), a water main could break, or some other cause that would make your water undrinkable. This is where water barrels come into play.

     

    Water Capacity and Weight Comparison

    Guy_Standing_By_Water_BarrelsThere are many different sizes of water containers with which you can store water, ranging anywhere from two liter pop bottles to a 320 gallon water reserve. For those living in apartments or small homes, the smaller containers may be more ideal, since they take up less space. If you have the room, however, the water barrels and reserves make a great storage units. Holding much more water than just two liter bottles or five gallon jugs, water barrels can be your go-to source for emergency water.

    The downside to large water containers is their weight. As mentioned previously, clean water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. One of the more common water barrels people use is the 55-gallon barrel. With 55 gallons of water, this would weigh over 450 pounds. Definitely not toting that around! But, if it’s just sitting in a dark room in your basement, there should be nothing to worry about.

     

    Pros and Cons

    These large water containers let you have water when there is no other water to be found. You can’t always make a hike to the nearby river, lake, or stream to fill up a small container from your water filter. By having water barrels in your home, you can ensure you’ll always have water when you need it, because you never know when a water main might break, or some other inconvenience will take your tap water from you.

    The most obvious con of water barrels and reserves is their size. However, that’s one of the pros as well. They can be difficult to store with smaller living space, but if you have the room, just having a 15-gallon water barrel will give you water for at least two weeks. That right there is one of the best kinds of insurance.

     

    While it’s true that there are pros and cons for both water filters and water containers, it is still essential to have a backup water supply. For most cases, water barrels and other containers are the primary source of water should the need arise, with a water filter being used as backup. There are plenty of options for both, however, so make sure you choose the options that best suit your own needs.

     

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  • Is the California Drought Really Making Headway?

    California is known for its stunning beaches, beautiful parks, and blistering drought.

    California Drought Monitor Aug 4, 2015But things have been much worse for California’s drought. Just last year, the majority of the state was either in exceptional or extreme drought (as seen here as the two shades of red). There was only a small sliver down in the southeast of the state that was just abnormally dry (yellow). The rest of the state was in at least some form of drought, much of it severe or worse. Things certainly were bad back then. But has it improved, or has it become even worse? Let's look at the current drought monitor.

    California Drought Monitor Aug 2, 2016As of August 4, 2016, there’s a lot more yellow, which is a good sign. Yellow means it’s just abnormally dry, not technically in drought conditions. A fair portion of the reds have turned orange or beige, signaling the extreme and exceptional drought conditions are dwindling.

    Yes, there is still quite a bit of exceptional drought in California, but by the looks of things, it is slowly dispersing. That being said, it’s nothing to celebrate. At least, not yet.

    Since Californians have done an excellent job at conserving water – they cut back water usage by 27.5% in June 2015 as compared with the 2013 baseline – many municipalities are lifting water restrictions. An article in the East Bay Times showed concern from water program director at the Pacific Institute, Heather Cooley. She said that today’s number of saved water is strong. However, Cooley has other concerns.

    “I’m concerned about the next several months and years,” she said. “The water we save now is water we can use later if we don’t get rains next winter.” She warned that caution should be exercised.

    As the drought monitor from August 2, 2016 suggests, there is still a fair amount of drought afflicting the Golden State, and there will undoubtedly still be quite some time yet before the drought is gone.

    Whether lifting much of the water restrictions in California is a good idea or not remains to be seen. However, it does look like there is still room for precautions. Just because the disaster is becoming less severe doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to stop being cautious – and this goes for all disasters. Just because the threat is subsiding doesn’t mean the threat is gone entirely.

    But, perhaps local officials know better. Whatever their source of knowledge, you can still do your part to save water and ultimately be prepared.

     

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