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Slashdot Asks: Are You Preparing For Hurricane Sandy? 232

Posted by timothy
from the just-another-way-to-say-abrasive dept.
Forecasters are tossing around words like "unprecedented" and "bizarre" (see this Washington Post blog entry) for the intensity and timing of Hurricane Sandy, which is threatening to hit the east coast of the U.S. early next week. Several people I know in the mid-Atlantic region have been ordering generators and stocking up on flashlight batteries and easy-to-prepare foods. Are you in the projected path of the storm? If so, have you taken any steps to prepare for it? (Are you doing off-site backup? Taking yourself off-site?)
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Slashdot Asks: Are You Preparing For Hurricane Sandy?

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  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by sarysa (1089739) on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:22PM (#41784605)
    I plan to avoid scuba diving in Monterey Bay this weekend. Hurricanes are most dangerous in coastal areas, after all...
  • yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <.marc.paradise. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:26PM (#41784647) Homepage Journal

    yeah those 40-mph forecast winds as we get 'slammed' on the east coast are terrifying.

    I'd take this more seriously if the media didn't hop all over *every* storm as if it each one was the End of the World as we Know It.

    Of course I've done basic prep - but no, I'm not cowering upstairs crawl space in fear of the lower floors getting flooded out.

    • I was in Charleston, SC a few years after Hugo (cat 5, direct hit) when another hurricane came out of the carribean with the same size speed strength, etc. Forecast wasn't bad as the steering currents were set to move it offshore.

      Still that town got up and LEFT en mass.

      Being the stupid 'damn' yankee that I was(am?) I of course stayed to watch ;-)
      • Re:yeah (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <.marc.paradise. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:07PM (#41785511) Homepage Journal

        I think my flippancy has caused some misinterpretation.

        Like I said, I've done basic prep. Candles, flashlight, plenty of food, standing supply of bottled water, etc.

        But I also know that the absolute worst that will happen is my house will fall down, in which case we'll need to find somewhere else to be. The vast majority of the preparations I can take won't make any difference to the storm.

        If we lose power, we lose power. THe world won't end, I have plenty of dry food and enough water packed in my freezer that it'll be a couple-few days before it's a problem, and dried food enough for two weeks easily. Also plenty of food on hand for my animals.

        The usual "run in circles, scream and shout" routine won't help anything. Nor will joining the throngs at the store for the next three days who buy every last scrap of bread, water, and whatever else.

        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          I presume where you live is not subject to serious flooding from storm surge or waterway flooding. If not then it may be foolish to stay in place no matter how well prepared you are.

    • Re:yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:52PM (#41784897) Homepage

      Well, it's one of those things that if nothing happens, we all say the weather people were over-reacting.

      But a bunch of years ago, in the aftermath of hurricane Juan, most of my family was without power for about a week or more. People had to spend an awful lot of time cutting down all of the felled trees just so they could get out of their streets. My parents lost the contents of two fridges and a freezer because there was no power to keep stuff cold.

      My father now has a generator wired into the house, and set up so they can run the furnace, and a couple of outlets (run the fridge for a while to keep it cold), with enough gas to run it for most of a week. They already have a bunch of oil-lamps, and make sure to keep them fueled. They keep several gallons of water in the bathroom to flush with (they're on a well, no electricity means no water to flush the toilets, which is pretty nasty).

      Extra water, and some extra provisions set aside just in case. An old Coleman camping grill they've had for years and a propane tank so they can still do some basic cooking. The barbeque as well.

      It's easy to say "oh, nothing will happen, they're over-reacting", but anybody who has lived through the aftermath with no power, running water, heat ... well, it's not all that difficult to keep a few things handy just in case it goes south. Sure, you may never actually need it ... but once you've been burned once, you figure it's worth keeping it around just in case.

      A few years after Juan, they did have a storm big enough to knock out power for a few days. Dad just fired up the generator, turned on the oil lamps, and just rode it out until everything was back to normal. It wasn't exactly the lap of luxury, but they could cover the essentials for a few days. He hasn't regretted the generator or any of the preparations since.

      They still call every impending storm as if it's the coming apocalypse, but the few times it's been big enough to cause problems, they've been quite well prepared. If you've got heat, some basic lighting, and enough electricity to keep the fridge from spoiling, you can ride it out a whole lot easier.

      • In New Jersey, which last I heard is in its path, last year around Halloween we got nailed. A windy freak snow storm came out of nowhere.

        Trees went down all over the place.

        My house was without power for 6 days and 15 hours.

        That was the first time in over 20 years of living there that we were without power for more than a couple of hours.

        Trees went down all over the state. A couple went down on our property. The top part of a tree fell on the power lines in front of our house AND blocked the main road.

        And

      • Re:yeah (Score:5, Informative)

        by hawguy (1600213) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:04PM (#41785481)

        My father now has a generator wired into the house, and set up so they can run the furnace, and a couple of outlets (run the fridge for a while to keep it cold), with enough gas to run it for most of a week. They already have a bunch of oil-lamps, and make sure to keep them fueled. They keep several gallons of water in the bathroom to flush with (they're on a well, no electricity means no water to flush the toilets, which is pretty nasty).

        Since they have a hardwired generator, why not put the well pump on the generator? My parents have a 5KVA generator that has enough power to run the well pump as long as no other big loads are powered on (the startup current on the well pump is apparently too much current draw when combined with other loads). Once the well pump fills the pressure tank, he can turn it off and has 15 - 20 gallons of usable water before the pressure drops too low.

        If I had a generator, I'd never use oil lamps - rechargable batteries and LED flashlights are much safer, you can get a fast charger to recharge AA's in 30 minutes or so, which is less time than you'll need to run the fridge. Or get a D cell LED lantern [amazon.com] - it'll run for 48 hours or so on a set of non-rechargable alkalines. Or use your rechargable AA's in a D-cell adapter and you can still get a few hours of lifetime from it before you need to recharge.

        I saw someone knock over an oil lamp once in a garage - the wick holder came off and oil seeped out onto the plywood it fell onto, it created a sizeable fire before someone brought in a fire extinguisher to douse it. Not something I'd want to have happen in the living room during a hurricane disaster.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Since they have a hardwired generator, why not put the well pump on the generator? My parents have a 5KVA generator that has enough power to run the well pump as long as no other big loads are powered on

          Much smaller generator than you're thinking of ... small portable Honda which will run a couple of 120V outlets for a couple of hours at a time or so (possibly longer, never asked). But wired into the panel by a cousin of my mom's (industrial electrician so done right).

          That, and the well pump is 100' awa

    • In their defense, last I heard they were saying the gusts would hit 75MpH in New Jersey. Which, considering how many of the trees still haven't shed their leaves yet, COULD be bad. Last Halloween, NJ got dragged over the coals by a freak snow storm. What made it so bad was the amount of leaves on the trees, causing things to fall ALL over the place.

      But I'll believe it when I see it. When they call something "Franken-storm" while it's still days out, it's still a bit premature.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      I wouldn't recommend cowering even if I could guarantee that the storm was a combination of the Camille and the 1991 "perfect storm".. But is the fact that a hype-prone media is hyping the storm the way the hype everything a good reason not to take it seriously? The fact that the boy keeps crying wolf is not a reason to doubt that wolves exist.

      • Indeed; like I said, I've done basic prep. We'll be fine if we lose power for a week or even longer. But most of this stuff is stuff I have on hand *anyway* - not a reaction to the hype. Just a little common sense and foresight - understanding that because things are a certain way *now* does not mean this will be true *tomorrow * - is all it takes to be prepared for most reasonable emergencies. Without buying into the hype...

      • Yes, it is a good reason not to take the MEDIA seriously. Instead, people should visit whatever official weather websites are there for that area, read the data and make informed decisions.
        Here, media cries wolf every time temperature changes by more than 5 degrees Celsius during one day. Just a few months ago, a regular storm hit the city; a few trees and commercial panels were brought down, a couple underground passages were temporarily flooded and some scaffolding fell over an unlucky guy, killing him in

    • by jittles (1613415)
      Sandy is blowing outside right now. It is no big deal down here, but you never know what will happen when it heads north.
    • Denizens of DC Metro know WTOP News Radio, an all-news/weather/traffic station. Typically, the storm reports are "Brought to you by Giant Food", one of the major local grocery chains. . . . starting ~48 hours before the expected storm. And of course, the stores get slammed with people buying bread, milk, TP, beer, etc. . . But one night, about 10 or so years ago, they let the truth slip out. . . . "This storm is brought to you by Giant Food. . . "
  • After being without power for several days last July I learned a few lessons. I picked up a car iPhone charger and will probably get the WTOP app. I will also probably get extra ice and beer, both commodies which were in short supply after the storms last summer.
  • 1. It won't be either a hurricane or even a tropical depression when it hits the upper east coast next Tuesday according to the National Weather Service( http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at3+shtml/205618.shtml?5-daynl#contents )

    2. Total Rainfall potential predicted by the NWS for the Pennsylvania , New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts areas is estimated to be - wait for it - a whopping 3 to 7 inches FOR THE ENTIRE FIVE DAYS through Wednesday. ( http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/zoom/Rainfall_Days_1
    • by sjames (1099)

      While the last one would have made a really bad nature's revenge film, it did cause significant problems all over the area. Enough so that some preparation was in order and those who did were a lot happier than those who didn't.

    • by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:53PM (#41784907)

      It actually did a real number on us in Vermont. In fact it was the worst flooding since 1932 in many places, and the worst ever in some places.

      Of course this whole thing may turn out to be nothing. It won't reach hear until Monday and I don't really put a huge amount of stock on weather predictions 3 days in advance. Anyway, we're ready, around here if you're not living in town you are probably always ready.

    • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:09PM (#41785047)

      3-7" of rain would be fine if it was all nice and spread out and just soaked into the ground, but water has a nasty habit of flowing downhill and finding its way into rivers...

      The local river in northern NJ here raised its level by at least 10' during last years storm, resulting in the local highway being under 4' of water.

    • by mps01060 (1327829) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:32PM (#41785243)
      A couple of points:

      1. Precipitation:
      You have to consider that the land types are different for the northeast states compared to southeast states such as Florida. Florida has soil in which the rain drains out of much quicker. In addition, engineering designs are different for states that generally get less rain than the southern states. The HDSC [noaa.gov] calculates precipitation Recurrence Intervals [carleton.edu] for engineering design purposes. For example, Florida sees a mean annual maximum precipitation of about 5 inches in 24 hours compared to 2.5 inches in 24 hours in the northeast. This discrepancy is much larger when you look at recurrance intervals of >10 years (9 compared to 5 inches). This event has the potential to drop 100 year rainfall on the northeastern states. It will last a few days, but MOST of the rain will fall in one day.

      2. Wind:
      This will likely transition into an extratropical cyclone. extratropical (mid-latitude) storms have weaker winds than hurricanes, but are over a much larger area. Most hurricanes have severe wind damage only a few miles from the center in the eye-wall. Tropical storm strength winds extend out further, but even those don't usually extend out far in most storms (obviously there are exceptions such as Hurricane Ike [wikipedia.org]). An extratropical cyclone's winds will cause moderate damage over a very large area. The other thing to consider are trees. Trees in the north are much less resistant to the wind, especially since most still have their leaves this time of the year. The winds in this storm won't be as deadly as a hurricane's, but will be a HUGE issue for damage and power outages.

      Storm surge:
      This [noaa.gov] is a page with estimated storm surge. This storm will also stick around for a while, so it will be able to pile more and more water up against the shore, as well as have a chance to coincide with astronomical high tides. There are many places in NYC that will flood (although they will be properly evacuated).

      3. People
      If the center hits around southern New Jersey, this storm will directly affect Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, etc. This is a very large amount of people to worry about. These people are used to Nor' Easters but this should be much stronger than a typical Nor' Easter.

      I do understand why you think this is being over-hyped, especially when you compare it to the smaller but much more powerful hurricanes that strike the south. Overall, I don't expect this storm to cause many deaths; I think the people will generally be prepared. I do see this storm causing a lot of damage and long-lasting power outages. When you have these affects over such a large area, it could take time to get back to business as normal. Lastly, you should look for more information on Irene because it was very damaging, especially with the flooding in NY and VT, where both the infrastructure and the land type is not used to that kind of rain.

    • by bws111 (1216812) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:46PM (#41785853)

      Weird how a storm which "didn't materialize" (Irene) managed to be the fifth most destructive Atlantic hurricane.

      It materialized, and caused significant damage to New York, Connecticut, Massachusettes, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Just because it didn't cause major problems in NYC doesn't mean it "didn't happen".

    • Irene wasn't a lot of fun last August. Mostly because of downed trees and power outages. The first 2 days are different, as you do clean up and figure out if the office has power.

      After that it gets to be a grind as you go day after day without power.
  • by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@hotma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:34PM (#41784721) Homepage Journal

    Been through some storms so I've added some munchies, bought some water, charged a spare car batt for a frend's sump pump and to charge phones, and I cleared the gutters out. I also chatted with my neighbors, we're prepped to help each other out if needed. Pissed I skipped installing the generator I considered last month, betting I'll need it...

    Yuck it up but 8inches or more of rain will fuck things up pretty good. Oh, I RainX'd my car windshield too :-)

  • Is it a good idea to have your offsite backups in place? Sure, but why wait for a predictable natural disaster as opposed to a man-made one? The whole point of a viable backup strategy is not to have a single point of failure, including a reliance on predictable events.

    In an ideal world, I'd have several heavy-duty chain saws at the ready, dripping in anticipation of cutting down wayward trees. But this being the real world, I'll leave my big boy chaps, kevlar gloves, etc. in fantasy-land and hire a profess

    • by couchslug (175151)

      I've cut plenty of wayward trees, but if one falls on your home GET PICS for the insurance adjuster before ANYONE fucks with it.

    • Re:Nothing new here (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:20PM (#41785159)

      Lucky you. I'm in (roughly) the middle of a very large metro area (Houston) but happen to live in a neighborhood at the end of a mile-long road with no other way in or out. We are at the terminus of our part of the electrical grid and there are only a couple of hundred homes. In short, we're low priority for power restoration due to our small population and in a location where falling trees along that mile-long entry road can take out our power in a heartbeat.

      The power goes out in my neighborhood regularly. "Maintenance" took it out for 6 hours 2 days ago. It was out for over a week the last time we had a big ice storm. It was out for over two weeks during the last hurricane. It goes out for some time, maybe a few minutes or maybe several hours, during every big thunderstorm. And as for tree removal, after the last hurricane the county cleared our main road in after a week but people who had to hire private contractors to remove trees that had fallen through their houses often had a 2 or 3 week wait to get an appointment.

      You better believe that whenever there's a hint of serious weather, we either get a generator (there's almost always an evacuating neighbor who wants us to watch their house and feed their cat and is happy to lend us a generator in exchange) and a ton of supplies or we get the heck out.

      My poor grandmother in only semi-rural Alabama was once without power for over 6 weeks after a hurricane.

      People should take weather more seriously. I swear, if I had the money I'd get a NG-powered fuel cell, feed a bank of batteries, and run my house off that, completely ditching the electrical grid. Where I live, it's just too unreliable.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        It was out for over a week the last time we had a big ice storm.

        An ice storm in Houston? Really?

        Obviously, I believe you, because you live there and I don't ... but as a Canadian, I guess I figured most of Texas would be too far south for stuff like that.

        We had a big giant one back in '98, and it basically shut the entire city down for about a week. People were without power, and trapped on their streets because trees end electrical wires were down all over the place. In places, they literally had to ca

        • We've had several ice storms over the years, though only a couple were really bad. See: http://www.wxresearch.com/almanac/houice.htm [wxresearch.com]

          The 2007 storm is the one I was talking about. There were tens of thousands of trees downed or just bent double. It was amazing to see. I personally know two old guys, former tree maintenance company owners, who came out of retirement just to rake in cash for the next year doing cleanup all over the metro area.

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:36PM (#41784741)
    Cleaned the gutters, brought in or strapped down lawn furniture, trimmed a couple of overhanging branches, got a couple of books from the library.

    Anything else is already handled. In coastal VA, this is prepped all summer. Water in the secondary fridge and freezer, there is always enough food for a few days (no power? ha!...that is what the grill is for)

    So...nothing special.
    • by dch24 (904899)
      Can I ask --

      What good books? I'm always looking for good recommendations!
  • Obligatory xkcd (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:39PM (#41784753)

    Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com]

  • Considering I live in the Chicagoland area.

    If a hurricane can push THAT far inland, I guess I deserve to get drowned/blown away/etc.

  • I mean I'm no meteorologist, but I don't think hurricane Sandy will hit the Pacific Northwest
  • by ballpoint (192660)

    There's a f*cking ocean between the question in the headline and me, so no.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      There's a f*cking ocean between the question in the headline and me, so no.

      So, you live somewhere where 1cm of snow will shut down the entire country then? ;-)

  • by tamarik (1163) on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:48PM (#41784863) Homepage

    FWIW... I'm tied to a dock on the GA/FL border. In a boat. With no motor. Sparrow is a sailboat who has weathered far worse than this. We, my 2 cats and I, have weeks of food and full water tanks. Winds here are getting up to 20 knots or so and quite gusty. Am I worried? no. We had a hardy home and sufficient supplies. As I write this, we're rolling around a bit and wind is making the rigging sing. We are warm, fed and safe. I'll put on foulies in a bit and wander the docks to see if all the other boats are ok. Maybe a line has chaffed through or a fender has gunched up. S'ok, these are things easily repaired. And then shed the foulies and enjoy a warm cuppa in my nest...

    • by fm6 (162816) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:18PM (#41785141) Homepage Journal

      Your complacency reminds me of the joke about the guy who jumped off the Empire State Building. As he passed the 20th floor, he said, "I don't get why everyone thinks this is so dangerous..."

      You're seriously claiming that you've weathered worse than what you'll face? Storm surges that can lift your little boat and deposit it miles inland?

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      A good old sailboat with a huge keel will weather even a mean storm without effort. A+ to you!
      I had a 36 foot hunter with a 2 ton keel.. it survived the november storms of Lake Michigan and superior, a wimpy hurricane is nothing to worry about,.

  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:09PM (#41785041) Homepage

    To all my fellow Baltimorons and Delmarva folks:

    This summer's derecho had peak gusts of 66 mph at BWI. That storm lasted a few hours.

    Sandy is currently forecast to be right on top of us at 2 on Tuesday afternoon with 65 mph sustained winds. If we're really unlucky, those winds are going to turn through 180 degrees as the core of the storm blows through.

    There's every chance that this will turn out to be nothing to write home about. That said, it's a really weird storm that has a lot of non-talking-head meteorologists raising their eyebrows. Take the handful of really stupid simple steps to prepare--make sure you have a few days' worth of non-perishable food and water, have a flashlight with batteries, fill up your gas tank, charge your devices and keep 'em off if the power goes out.

    Hope this all putters out, but be ready for a bad one. It could well be.

  • I'm British, you insensitive clod!
    • by Skapare (16644)

      Well, at least you need to put off trying to regain the colonies for a few days.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:19PM (#41785147) Homepage

    I'm moving my instances and volumes from us-east-1* to use-west-{1,2}* just to be safe. The us-east-1 region has been rather unstable this year. I don't think will survive this.

  • Supplies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:39PM (#41785309)

    First know that flying glass is a huge killer in wind storms. That is why you need to be away from all windows as they may give suddenly.
                  People go nuts trying to buy food before a storm. Few think to have a sterno stove or some other easy way to heat canned food. Do not cook until all winds have stopped. There is no fire department, no police, and no medical care for days or even weeks. Do not start charcoal fires inside the home.
                  Realise that grocery stores tend to be hit hard due to their large roofs. In our last Florida storm I had to drive 85 miles one way to buy food as all local stores had caved in or blown off roofs. You may not have electricity for weeks or even months after a storm. Generators will hurt your wallet as it takes a lot of fuel to keep them humming. Keeping enough fuel to power a generator would in itself be risky unless you have a very large lawn. Gas stations will close for weeks and the ones that do sell fuel may have all kinds of water and crud in the product.
                    The best plan is to leave an area at the first hint of trouble and get hundreds of miles out of the zone. Very few will do that or can afford to do that. If things get really bad having a firearm and knowing how to use it may be a great comfort to you and your family. Frightened people who suddenly are cut off from the world can act out in their fear. Most people are helpful but some get really dangerous.
                          I speak first hand as being in Florida for over 50 years I have been in high winds all too often.

  • by Penurious Penguin (2687307) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:04PM (#41785483) Homepage Journal
    Whatever you do, folks, do not be prepared. For preparation is terrorism [networkworld.com] and extemporaneous is patriotism [usatoday.com].

    Do not be seduced by the evil temptations of self-reliance. Trust in the one, the only, Authori tuh.
  • by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:05PM (#41785489)

    The most likely mode of failure for internet access during Sandy is likely to be "the storm knocked out commercial power, then persisted longer than the battery backup power at your service provider's facility or tower".

    From the research I did, it looks like the best bet for datacard/hotspot #1 is Verizon. Apparently, they have 8-10 hours of battery backup at all of their cell sites, and 85% (in Florida, at least; not sure whether the statistic was specific to Florida or applies nationwide) have on-site generators that fire up automatically & have enough on-site fuel to run for a week. They also apparently allow you to buy an unsubsidized data card or hotspot on eBay, and activate it for $15 per day (250mb data per day) in a completely adhoc manner, with no strings, minimums, reactivation/inactivity fees, or other sneaky charges.

    For some reason, they seem to explicitly NOT allow "day pass" use with PCMCIA/Cardbus/ExpressCard devices, and I'm still trying to find out whether you have to activate it before the storm (or at least have working phone/internet service by some other means at the time you activate it), or whether you can literally buy a $13 EVDO datacard on eBay, throw it in a drawer as a really cheap insurance policy against loss of internet access during a storm, then pull it out, plug it into your laptop, and do the whole process -- payment, activation, and all -- using only the connectivity provided by the Verizon datacard itself.

    Apparently, AT&T has a similar "day pass" deal. I didn't bother to research it, because I already have an AT&T phone (Galaxy S3), and since my whole goal was to find cheap "backup plan" options for getting online if my AT&T cell phone lost data service during a storm, I didn't bother to look into them.

    For a longer outage, especially if you have Cable internet (which tends to go out shortly after commercial power is lost, and stay that way until the day after it's restored... at least, going by everything I've ever seen from Comcast in Florida), you might want to look into something that's cheaper and less stingy with data, like maybe T-Mobile. I wasn't able to find anything specific about their backup power situation besides references to them having a fleet of portable generators, which suggests that they're worse than Verizon (who already has fixed generators on-site, in place, ready to go), no better than AT&T (call it a hunch, but I suspect that whatever Verizon does, AT&T probably pays lip service to doing as well), and probably at least a little bit worse. My assessment: T-Mobile probably won't stay up until the bitter end of the storm, but if your cable internet is going to be down for a few days or more, they're probably the best option for days #2 and beyond. I'd expect that even if they go down during the storm, they'll be up and running within a day afterwards.

    One caveat about used T-Mobile devices... I'm not sure exactly why this is apparently a problem unique to T-Mobile (or at least a bigger problem with them), but apparently it's possible to buy a used T-mobile device after getting T-Mobile to verify that the ESN is 'clean', activate it with your own SIM, use it for months, then have it unceremoniously blacklisted by T-Mobile for something the seller did long after it was sold to you. For example, if someone buys a device on a 2-year contract, replaces it with another, sells the first one to you, then later defaults on the contract. Apparently, Sprint and Verizon keep track of transfers, but T-Mobile just indiscriminately blacklists whatever ESN was on file under the original contract without bothering to investigate further to avoid collateral damage).

    Right now, I can't recommend Sprint under any circumstances. Their 3G network sucks so badly right now (with the possible exception of the 3 or 4 places they've semi-finished upgrading), power loss is almost the least of their problems. After Isaac strafed Miami (taking down Comcast and U-verse for about 6-8 hours), I ran speedtest on Sprint & got

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Longest post in the entire thread and it's advice on how to stay online after the storm...

      I suppose congratulations are in order for keeping your geek priorities straight, but I still feel that is a bad sign.

      • by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday October 26, 2012 @11:05PM (#41786335)

        Oh, for ${deity}'s sake, this is going to hit as a 2-day windy rainstorm, not fsck'ing Hurricane Andrew. It's most likely consequence is the largest power outage in American history, not the wholesale destruction of the northeastern US like a wet, soggy nuclear bomb.

        Just remember this: you can buy generators from Amazon.com with $3.99 prime overnight shipping.

        OK, a few more tips:

        * Harbor Freight's latest sales flyer has $89 generators again. If you don't own one, and can't afford a better one, go buy one. Don't kid yourself -- it'll probably be in throw-away condition by next week, and won't run much more than your laptop, some lights, your phone chargers, and maybe your DSL modem (see the next point), but if you're reading Slashdot, those items are the essential items of life, without which you'll be unrelentingly miserable.

        * If your DSL modem doesn't work, but you have dialtone, you might have to double-convert your power. In other words, plug a 12v adapter into the generator's 120v, and feed its output to a cigarette lighter socket. Plug a 12v-to-120v inverter into that socket, and plug the wall wart from your DSL modem into the inverter.

        * Don't bother trying to use a UPS with your generator. it won't work. Seriously, it won't. Generator power is good enough for running almost anything you care about, but UPSes are picky about things like AC line frequency... and sadly, picky about it for no really good reason, besides the fact that 20 years ago, line frequency was something that was easy to measure and a good proxy for the electricity itself. Your laptop's PSU doesn't really care whether the line frequency is 60hz, 50hz, or actually just abuot anything between 42hz and 65hz. Unfortunately, your UPS will see the generator's frequency wobble, and will kick the UPS into battery mode. What? You have an expensive, huge, inverter-type generator? Great, but it's still not going to work. The moment the UPS is happy with the line power's quality and takes it off battery power, the surge load is going to make the generator stumble for a cycle or two... and the UPS will notice, and instantly switch back to battery power. Then a moment later, it'll decide the current's stable, and try to switch back. Stir, rinse, and repeat until the UPS's battery runs out as you stand there swearing at it. This is a common problem. Unless you're literally a company the size of a Google data center with your own private power plant that has a huge flywheel design, your likelihood of success with any generator+UPS combo is roughly nil, almost entirely due to the line-frequency-UPS-freakout problem. Please, for the love of god, will someone who works for APC please read this and let us have a UPS that's frequency-tolerant?!?

        You need two ice chests and an igloo cooler. Fill the igloo cooler with ice. Ice for drinks comes off the top. Cold melted water comes out the tap. No need for crates of bottled water you'll never drink, because you don't actually drink water anyway ;-) The first cooler is for drinks. The second cooler is for food. Have both full and ready at least 6 hours before you're likely to lose power, and DO NOT open the refrigerator or freezer until power comes back on unless you're planning to throw away everything inside. On the other hand, if the power's off for more than 2 days, clean out the refrigerator on day 3 or 4. If you don't, it'll turn into a real, honest to god biohazard before that first week is over, and you'll end up having to throw it out because you'll NEVER be able to safely decontaminate it once it turns into a mold colony. And it will, quickly. Oh, if possible, for 'drink' ice, buy bagged ice that's not random chippings -- they tend to melt together into a monolithic block that becomes useless for drinks. Cylindrical ice is the best.

        Do all of your laundry NOW. You can run a washer off a generator, but unless you have gas, your dryer is gone until the power's back on. In a state like Florida where it's 99% humid outside, clotheslines don't wor

        • by compwizrd (166184)

          I have a 6000VA Smart-UPS RM XL at the office with 5 battery packs attached.. runs the servers at 50% load for about 3 hours, and i can shed over half the load once the desktops croak. Either way, it's hooked up to a Cummins 5500 watt generator we bought from Costco. If i remember to push the choke in, the generator spits out about 245V at a decent enough frequency for the ups to be happy with it and even recharge its batteries. I did set the upper and lower bypasses to 265/184 to handle flakiness, and o

        • by adolf (21054)

          Don't bother trying to use a UPS with your generator. it won't work. Seriously, it won't.

          Might work. Just might. It depends on the UPS.

          We lost power for about a week this past June. I used my ~2kVA Tripp-Lite full-time inversion UPS to run any particularly fancy electronics, including the BFT and the stereo (and of course computers), mostly to isolate them from any funkiness with the generator.

          It worked fine. No complaints from the UPS, at all.

          Generator was a 5 or 6KW Troy Bilt thing, nothing fancy. I

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:05PM (#41785495) Journal

    Beer. Check. Popcorn. Check. TV warmed up. I'm ready.

    • Re:Yep. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:26PM (#41785679) Homepage

      Heating a modern TV is not recommended, it will cause the electronics to fail prematurely. you should remove any heaters right away.

  • by Lumpy (12016)

    Do your worst mother nature... in fact I DARE YOU to make the hurricane come right at me!

    Guarantee she cant make it to michigan... PBBBPBPBPBPT! Mother nature..... you aint got the GUTS!

  • The chances of wind are .2 - and we all took statistics right? It means more than just somewhat less likely to happen.

    We might get a little blowjob Monday into Tuesday though. That's at .35.

    So no need to go prepper crazy. My amateur radio gear is all charged and ready if the shit does in fact hit the fan. And I have ammunition.
  • generator wired into house comcast cable internet verizon 4g tmobile 4g beer Went through the eye of Charley, and was actually scared for my life. Not to worried for this one, but being cutoff and no power stinks, hopefully the above will perform as designed.
  • by GiMP (10923) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:29AM (#41786735)

    Basically, I haven't done so yet, but I need to get serious about storm preparations tomorrow. I'm in Philly where we expect to get hit hard, and my wife is 9 months pregnant.

    We're electric everything here without any gas backups. I'll run out tomorrow and grab propane for the grill, and I've got charcoal and cast-iron, if I need it. We've lined up a generator rental, since we can't find one for purchase, and we're discussing if we want to go forward with it. More likely, I'll get myself an indoor-rated, portable propane heater and some extra tanks.

    Not much in the way of dry and canned foods, but I'll pick up what I can tomorrow at the store. Perishables tend to go quick, but the items that actually matter such as cans and UHT pasteurized products, don't go quickly at all. UHT milk will stay good on the shelf for >6 months. Plus, we have enough to last us the next week if I rationed (my wife can't, being pregnant)

    Overall, not prepared, but will be... I hope.

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      If your wife it 9 months pregnant then you'd better have some plans about how you're going to get to the hospital if it becomes necessary.

  • by smartin (942) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @09:59AM (#41788791)

    Last year we got slammed by Irene and the October snowstorm (the snow storm was 10 times worse). Afterward I created a storm preparation list which I've reviewed this week and was surprise by some of the things that I wrote that I would not think of now. .e.g. spare fuses for generator, charge cell phones, etc.

    During Irene I learned exactly what happens to my house as the amount of rain piles up. We can take 6 inches or so but after that the water table rises and my basement starts to leak in certain places. So we are clearing out those places and are prepared with mops, shop vac, backup sump and generator.

    This time we won't be able to change what happens, but since we have experience, we know how to at least limit the damage.

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