As if the country weren’t worried enough about what the election will bring, a storm of nearly unprecedented destructive potential is ready to hit the entire East coast, including D.C., on Halloween. Dubbed a ‘Frankenstorm’ in a report by National Public Radio, nothing like it has been seen in the Northeastern U.S. since at least 1938.
The beginnings of the trouble lie with Hurricane Sandy, which has already brought 21 deaths to the Caribbean. The problem isn’t the hurricane alone, however, which shows some weakening. But Sandy is most likely to turn toward the Eastern Seaboard on Monday and meet up with two other weather systems–a snowstorm coming in from the West and cold air pushing down from Canada. The resultant clash of forces has such huge potential for harm that Mike Smith of AccuWeather wrote this in his Friday blog:
A very prominent and respected National Weather Service meteorologist wrote on Facebook last night, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this and I’m at a loss for expletives to describe what this storm could do.’
Yes, I’ve never seen anything like it either nor have our modern meteorological tools. As I wrote yesterday afternoon, we don’t know whether our tools are up to the task because no storm of this nature has occurred in the modern meteorological era.
Thanks to a full moon on Monday, the ocean tides could intensify storm surges along the coast. All of this is supposed to reach a peak impact on Halloween. Bryan Norcross of the Weather Channel wrote on Thursday night, ”This is a beyond-strange situation. It’s unprecedented and bizarre…The freak part is that a hurricane happens to be in the right place in the world to get sucked into this doubled-back channel of air and pulled inland from the coast. And the double-freak part is that the upper level wind…is merging with the tropical system to create a monstrous hybrid vortex. A combination of a hurricane and a nor’easter.”
Advice is being issued to residents along the entire East Coast, from Florida to New England, to stock up on food, prescriptions, gas, other fuel; to have a transistor radio and plenty of batteries; to pay attention to evacuation warnings; to have backup generators and be prepared for an extended loss of power, maybe as long as a month; to have plenty of cash on hand as ATMs may not be functioning–also, extra cell phone batteries.
As for the election? No power, no voting machines. Vote early. No telling how long it will take to sort out this mess!