Americans Caught Off Guard Yet Again. Millions Without Power, Food & Water as Deadly Storm Hits U.S.

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July 2, 2012 Posted by:

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Millions of people across the mid-Atlantic region of the United States are without power as a swarm of violent storms took out power lines throughout the country. Are you Prepared?And yet again, most Americans have been caught completely off guard.

STATE OF EMERGENCY

After what’s being called a “Historic Storm” made its way across parts of the east coast, a State of Emergency has been declared in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Virginia.

As many as three million people have been without power for over 72 hours and officials are warning that some areas could be without power until late in the week. At least 18 people are dead and officials are warning that the record-setting heat in the region could compound the problem.

RECORD SETTING HEAT

The mid-Atlantic region of the United States is in the middle of one of the most deadly heat waves in recent history. With no power to run air conditioning units, millions have taken refuge in shopping malls, movie theaters, libraries, emergency cooling centers and anywhere that has emergency power.

DAMAGE TO POWER GRIDS

downed power linesThunderstorms and high winds knocked out power and caused catastrophic damage to power grids in states from Ohio to New Jersey. The power outages have left millions of people to deal with blistering hot homes as temperatures approached or exceeded 100 degrees.

Power in some areas could be out until next weekend.

COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS

Cell service and internet outages have only compounded the problem as millions of cell subscribers have either been without service or complain of spotty service. Verizon informed a number of 911 call centers that their customers were unable to make emergency calls.

911 SERVICE

In a number of cities emergency 911 call centers were not in service. From power outages effecting the emergency call centers to cell phone outage that made it impossible for people to reach emergency personnel, the emergency response system suffered a massive failure.

Parts of Northern Virginia went without 911 service for over 48 hours. This should serve as a major wake-up call to those that think emergency responders will be able to help you during an emergency.

TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM

Commuters are finding an absolute transportation nightmare in many areas of the country. In west Virginia, hundreds of Amtrak passengers were stranded for over 20 hours after debris blocked both sides of the train tracks. From mass transit delays and shutdowns to road closures and signal outages, commuters can expect to see transportation problems and longer than normal commutes for at least a week.

WATER & SEWAGE PROBLEMS

Boil water advisories, water restrictions and sewage backups are causing major problems for those who failed to prepare.  A large portion of the affected areas have been told to not drink the tap water without boiling it. A number of cities have also imposed water restrictions.

FOOD, WATER & ICE SHORTAGES

emergency ice delivery

A number of stores throughout the region are reporting major shortages of water, food, and ice, as unprepared residents flock to local stores to stock up. Ice has become a major commodity as millions of people desperately try to save what little food they have.

LESSONS TO LEARN

It’s sad to say but most people probably won’t learn a damn thing from this disaster. I mean, how many years has the public been warned to prepare for natural disasters, only to be caught off guard time and time again?  This storm showcases how unprepared Americans really are to protect themselves from even the most basic disasters.

Is it really that difficult to understand that you need to have basic supplies in case something bad happens? How hard is it to stock up on some extra food and water?

  • WATER – If the power grid goes down there’s a pretty good chance your tap water will become undrinkable. Now is the time to put together an emergency water supply and learn how to find water during an emergency.
  • EMERGENCY FOOD – In preparation for any type of disaster you need to think about emergency food. After a disaster, power outages are going to cause some major problems. From those who failed to prepare raiding the local grocery store, to power outages spoiling refrigerated foods, you need to come up with a plan to feed yourself and your family during a disaster. We advise stocking up on canned foods, dry food mixes, dehydrated camping foods, and other foods that do not require refrigeration.
  • INVENTORY YOUR SUPPLIES – Take an inventory of your supplies and calculate how long you can realistically survive with what you currently have. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of your inventory assessment make a list of what you need and then start stockpiling those items.
  • CAMPING  – Think about what items you would take on a camping trip and then stock up on those items. These are the type of things that you’ll want to stock up on because you’ll probably be camping out in your home for at least a couple of days following the storm.
  • LIGHTING –  Candles, lanterns and flashlights are all essential emergency preparedness items. Make sure you have a number of them on hand and don’t forget to stock up on extra batteries.
  • GENERATORS– If you can afford one, a generator sure makes things a lot easier during a power outage. Just remember to keep it away from your home and away from windows so the dangerous exhaust fumes don’t blow back into your home.
  • EVACUATION PLAN – Having an emergency evacuation plan is a crucial step in being prepared. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important elements in any good survival plan.
Comments

Responses to " Americans Caught Off Guard Yet Again. Millions Without Power, Food & Water as Deadly Storm Hits U.S. " Please share your thoughts...

  1. PrepperM says:

    Morons every last one of them. The local news told people the storm was coming and still these idiots didn’t even bother to buy an extra gallon of water.

    • Gary says:

      I heard nothing about it until it was almost upon us. Didn’t make much difference though, we were pretty much ready.

      • PW says:

        Great job Gary, Sorry to here about your problem,glad you could handle it.would like to know what you had to use and what you would chang for next time

    • GingerKat says:

      What a harsh blanket generalization! How can you characterize and pass judgement on millions of people you don’t even know? Do you even LIVE in any of the areas that were affected? Did you lose your home, car, or loved ones in the storm? Stocking up on food, water, and supplies doesn’t mean much when your HOME is destroyed, your car is laying smashed under a tree, and you have no means of transporting your stockpiles to your bug out location. Oh wait, you must have multiple BOL and secondary vehicles hidden in disaster proof buildings to aid your escape if something goes bump in the night and you have no warning…

      I live in an area of NJ that was among the hardest hit by this storm system. Weather alerts were not issued until late in the evening, as the storm didn’t reach us until nearly 2am. Yes, we had SOME warning, but nothing in the alerts indicated anything close to the severity we experienced in the early morning hours this past Saturday. Part of the problem is that (at least in our area) we get “Severe Weather Alerts” concerning “serious thunderstorms” on a fairly regular basis. They often warn of “deadly cloud to ground lightning,” “damaging hail,” and “dangerous winds.” Most often these storms are not as severe as the alerts indicate. Because of this, many people did not take this storm system seriously. That’s no excuse for being unprepared, but that certainly doesn’t make us “idiots, every one of” us.

      You should be ashamed of yourself for making such an inflammatory and immature generalization. It’s people like YOU that make preppers look bad. Individuals can survive, but it’s through community that we thrive. Yes I’m going to take care of me and mine FIRST, but I will also help others when and if I can.

      As for my family and me, we are doing just fine with food and water. And my mother FINALLY realizes that I’m not a paranoid, over reacting, doomsday fanatic. I just want to be able to take care of her and my son when things go bad in a hurry (like this past weekend). So don’t you dare presume that each and every one of us that were impacted by this storm (known as a derecho, FYI) is an idiot. You don’t know, you aren’t here. You have NO right to judge!

      • PrepperM says:

        Don’t really understand why you’re taking offense to my statement since you seem to be prepared with food and water. My statement was to the millions of people who were not even prepared to go a day without water. If you have a better word than idiot that describes those kind of people let me know.

        I guess I could have also used the words; unprepared, irresponsible, reckless, negligent, dependent, obama voters, and so on.

        • He He He says:

          Don’t see what somebody’s electoral decision has to do about it….

    • Iseaq says:

      We knew nothing about a storm. At 8:08 the lights went,at 8:10 the strong winds blew and the SHTF. Don’t speak about what you don’t know about. That makes you a moron.

      • Chris says:

        Totally agree Iseaq. Fortunately our power stayed on and I always have a stash of camping food and emergency H20 but I know a lot of people in other parts of Northern Virginia who didn’t and many lost everything in their freezers and fridges. They’re definitely not idiots and I frankly never saw or heard anything about the storm coming until I looked out and saw trees blowing horizontal. No news or weather warnings.

        Don’t get why some (like PrepperM) criticize people when they’re not even experiencing it themselves!

        FTR Prepper, I’m always prepared, adept at using a stick to start a fire (not even a bow which is child’s play, just the stick), served a tour on the ground and in the 5hit in Iraq and Afghanistan, member of our regional Search and Rescue team AND an OBAMA voter! Go back to watching Survivorman and maybe think about how it is to be a REAL moron! Tell the 78 year old widow down the street she’s a moron because she couldn’t get out to get supplies. WTH don’t people think!!??

        • Meanazzvet says:

          I call bullshit on you sir, the people with their heads in the sand deserve what they get, you sir are probably a troll, go a brag about your false ground pounding else where, your were real quick to spout your delusions of military service. Keep the topic real..

    • wv prepper says:

      we had a 30 min warning!
      As someone who has just recently started prepping
      my wife and I are using this as a learning experience. We have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

  2. Gary says:

    Sitting in my basement right now with grid power down. Thinking about steaks on the grill for dinner, I saw a couple of squash ready and think they might just go good with it.

  3. Pam Davis says:

    In Ohio….we lost power….what I found very useful was the solar lights we have for lighting our sidewalk as we live in the country….They were very useful in keeping light in the house….These storms came quick and fast….I also believe that our current radar is not picking up everything…as I did see a large rotating cloud and it was never reported as a tornado.

  4. Robin Beltrami says:

    Still wouldn’t hurt to pray to the god of your choice for relief for those not taught to prepare. Here in utah it’s pretty much a given that people are trained to prepare because of the major religion. My garden is thriving, the beans are coming on…..we could live all summer on the water in the creek behind the house and our garden….plus knowing which wild plants are edible so you get enough calories and not just greens.

  5. JayOfAllTrades says:

    Weather is something everyone should take seriously, and learn more about. Its part of prepping that includes being aware of your surroundings, and situational awareness. Our area offered Skywarn weather spotter certification classes at local colleges around the state. It was a really good in-depth instruction on severe weather, and what to look for. Having a mobile NOAA weather radio is priceless in a weather emergency. Being able to understand radar, and interpreting the skies, and come to your own conclusions can help you make better decisions. A meteorologist friend of mine posted links to the live radar maps. He was vacationing in DC at the time, and he and I both knew that some serious stuff was about to go down. I feel bad for those that weren’t prepared, but maybe this will give people some incentive to make a plan.

  6. mountainspirit says:

    Ya, power went out yesterday and hubby had a heck of a time trying to figure out where he put the radio that he had all the batteries for. Internet was out so the back up battery in the computer didn’t mean squat. We didn’t get any notice of the storm and hail and winds until about 30 min. into the storm when the national weather service came across the radio….on the only station that we could get which was a christian station 2 blocks away. Hubby realized that the hand crank radio that I have been wanting may not be such a bad idea after all. Power was only out for a little over an hour, but it was just enough to make the hubby realize that when I pack a little more canned food in the closet and keep jugs of water under the bed, it’s because I have a reason why I am doing it.

  7. Bev says:

    Reading the above, I find that the same precautions and foresight are valid in my area – California – home to many earthquakes. It seems that sometimes no measure of preparation is adequate. No one mentioned generators – a good way to keep power to things like refrigerators, etc. I keep hearing that we’re crazy to live in ‘earthquake country’ but each area of these United States have their own natural disasters to deal with – as bad or worse than an earthquake! For the person with the vegetable garden and nearby creek… just hope your garden doesn’t get destroyed and the creek doesn’t get polluted. For those with food supplies, just hope you can get to them! As I said, sometimes no degree of preparedness is enough. These things happen so quickly! I hope those ‘millions of people’ get relief soon.

  8. va says:

    I am in sw va and things are not all that bad. Power has been out for most since Friday, another storm Sunday finished most of us off that still had power. But I there is not alot of panic or people going off the deep end. Alot of people helping out each other and cooking out on the grill.
    Main thing was the people comeing down 77 out of WV where the gas stations were closed, haveing to wait in long lines for gas where the sations were open in VA. Those passing threw were probley the most strssed.
    One thing people might want to think about, if going on long trips is stop often an fill up on gas. Ive never liked getting below half a tank myself.
    The news reported about 10 break-ins around the Roanoke area, but given the size thats probley not much more than they have on any weekend.
    People that say there wasnt much warning about the storms are right.Yea there was watches issued, but it seems everytime theres a chance of a T storm they issue some kind of watch.So people that did not have supplies stored up, did not have any time to run to the store and pick up anything. Hopefully people will learn a little form this and get there selfs in better shape (most people I know are prepared).
    The weather is changing alot around here. The days of a small evening thunder storm, followed by sitting on the porch watching a cool steady rain are gone. Now its allways strong wind, hail, flash floods, and torandos.

  9. JStevens says:

    Power went out Friday night after 10. Yanked out the generator and we were fine. My neighbors (we only have two houses on our street) who are always so nice to my wife were suddenly aloof and covered in dirty looks. They abandoned their house and we haven’t seen them since. They had nothing: no generator, food, water or flashlights. If things were worse, I know how it would have gone down. Be prepared, people. This will happen again.

  10. old soldier says:

    Having read all the comments, I feel a need to pass on a few of my own. Gingerkat sounded angry. I guess there are ample reasons. Yes, when you’re home is destroyed and a tree is sitting on your vehicle, the supplies don’t mean much. The thing is, a back up/contingency plan is in order. Yes you can have that backup vehicle. Prior arrangements with friends and family, for example, would help. That’s what counties and states do thru mutual aid agreements. The thing is ya gotta adapt if you’re going to survive. Some Union units during the Civil War took as much as 75 percent casualties to take an objective. You drive on no matter what house and vehicle out of commission with the bugout pack. ts. The thing to note from the article is people need to learn from mistakes. Alot of people don’t. The maxim “to ignore the mistakes of history are to repeat them.” applies I’m see a repeat this weekend of what happened during the hurricane in Sept: run on fuel, flashlights, batteries, generators, water, and so on. As far as community spirit, people this weekend were rude, aggressive (especially with their vehicles when they wanted fuel), discourteous, you name it. Storms like this bring out the worst in people every time.When sheep panic, don’t be in their way. Why? Because for alot of people these days, it’s all about me. No, idiots is not appropriate, sheeple is. I was reading a book this weekend written by a counter terrorism expert.His comment is that 98 percent of Americans are sheep with one percent the sheep dogs or protectors and preppers and the final one percent criminals or “the bad guys.” Yes, the storm came without warning. I had roughly 35 min warning before the wind hit and the power went. Only one station forcasted the storm in my area so it took alot of people by surprises, including me. My Power was out for 11 hrs. Had to drive 6 miles for a cup of coffee and, on arrival at the store found 2-3 vehicles lined up at the pumps and the inside total bedlam. The lessons to be learned from this weekend are : this is a taste of what to expect soon, so prepare NOW and use it as a positive experience to learn just what is needed to fully prepare for whatever, including a backup vehicle for bugout even if it is only a bicycle (in Vietnam the “bad guys” could transport as much as 200 lbs of supplies by that mode of transport). As for the mistakes of this past weekend, yes, people need to take a more serious approach to disasters and plan for them, but so do the county and state governments. I oughta know I used to write Emergency Ops Plans for those chairborne heros….that ended up on a shelf unread. Alot of good that did when SHTF.

  11. Mike says:

    I must agree that the Emergency Alert System (EAS) warnings that pop up on the cable TV system is quite generalized and often do not pertain to my immediate location, it is just one of the counties that fall in the regional alert and are often ignored. I am sure many people look at these EAS alerts as another example of ‘Crying Wolf.’

    As for people losing home, vehicle, or worse, life; that is always a sad event regardless who it happens to, and be fortunate if it did not happen to you, but it SHOULD be an eye opening experience either way.

    Yes, you could lose your home where all you supplies are, a good reason to have a cache elsewhere, even a storage facility a few miles away in the direction you would likely go if fleeing the area. If you lost a vehicle, and it was your only means of transportation, you are stuck with walking, and be thankful that you are still alive to be angry at people making comments.

    If you were unfortunate and lost a loved one, none of this matters right now, I am sorry for your loss; and why on earth would you even be looking at a blog during a time like this?!? I am sorry, but if you lost a loved one and are on this blog now, to put it bluntly, you are a moron; there are more important issues to deal with during a critical moment like this.

    No, I was not in the mid-Atlantic region during this event, but I do have relatives, including my son that are there now and that experienced power outages and storm damages, but thankfully still alive to talk about it.

    I have also lived through a tornado that destroyed the restaurant across the street from me, skipped over my house and the store beside me, and the store behind me was then also destroyed, with the only damage to my house was dust that came in through the open windows coating everything with a layer as we huddled down in the basement.

    I had an eye opening event and I learned my lesson, and I do have two small storage lockers in different directions with minimal supplies should I need to go either direction. Even then, there are no guarantees; not only could you lose your home, your vehicle and all of your cached locations, these are material items. If you are above ground, are able to walk away and have a knowledge base of good survival skills, you at least have that opportunity to start over. If you make it, great, if you make it for a longer period, even better; if you don’t, you become a statistic… that does happen. The only guarantee in life is death, as sad and as cruel as that may sound, it is a reality that a lot of people fear of grasping.

  12. hawkcrewchief631 says:

    OK not seeing this storm coming come one people I was no were near this storm and I saw it on the weather radar due to my daughter being in the area. It is called being aware of your surroundings, and with all this great technology you should be checking weather radar at least 4 times a day especially during peak storm season. An getting complacent and ignoring warnings due to many false alarms will get you killed. Just ask the people in Joplin, MO they don’t ignore a severe weather warning anymore nor should you.

  13. Mike says:

    It sounds like even though people had resources, TV, and NOAA radio some did not hear the warnings until after the storm was upon them. Many people seldom watch TV or listen to the radio at all, so can only rely on reading the clouds. Are their heads in the sand? Could be, but perhaps for those people these issues are not important, at least not until something happens to them and they get a wake-up call.

    How often does an emergency occur while you are sleeping? Storms occur during all hours of the day, not just during daylight hours; earthquakes and tsunami’s can occur at any time too.

    WHAT IF… late at night an earthquake occurs along the Canary Islands, the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupts and a ledge of La Palma Island falls into the ocean while you are sleeping? Speculations of this occurring have been reported numerous times over the last few years and causing a devastating tidal wave that could hit the eastern coast of the US and other locations in Europe, Africa, and Spain in just a few hours… all while you were sleeping.

    If you are in an area that is susceptible to being impacted by this, it does not matter what preparations you may or may not have made, this would be an equalizing event should it occur while you were sleeping… you wake up minutes before the wave hits and have no time to evacuate, you will be impacted and the losses will be grave. Even if you were awake when it started, are you watching the news, are you going to wake up everyone you know as you head inland? Just like all those people that did not receive a warning until the storm was already upon them… it is too late.
    In this scenario, it is quite possible that you and people you know would be receiving the blunt of the damage, some worse than others.

    To make a long story perfectly endless… even people that make the best preparations sleep, and any disaster, natural or man-made could occur at any time taking you by surprise, and material items or life could be lost. Even if you have a rotating shift watching all the news channels, listening to all the radio channels, you could still be taken entirely by surprise and there is nothing you could do about it, regardless how prepared for a SHTF event you are, or are not.

  14. John says:

    Back in the 50’s and 60’s the U.S. Gov’nt encouraged all of its citizens to prepare for any disaster. Doesn’t seem that way anymore.

    • Mike says:

      I remember “Duck and Cover” drills in school where we all duck under our desks with our arms over our heads… and sometimes go down to the auditorium being part underground.
      Then with the chemical / biological scares of the 21st Century it became “Duct [tape] and Cover”, to seal off all the windows, doors and vents to prevent “smells” from entering your room/home.

      These were all totally useless for the situation at hand, but at least it got people thinking. I would not mind having one of the “good” 1950’s style bomb shelters in a remote location to fall back on these days.

  15. tomcat says:

    if people arent prepared for the aftermath of a severe t storm, Lord help us when it really HTF.

  16. T says:

    Thanx to all of the above commenters- learned a lot from you.

  17. Ed_B says:

    The recent east coast storm was a genuine disaster and a terrible experience for many. If anything good can come from such a disaster, maybe it is that being prepared for difficulty might not be considered so outlandish. I would hope that to be the case and that more people will make an effort to help themselves before such help is needed.

    In spite of this tragedy, it was an insignificant event compared to a solar or nuclear EMP burst. Either of these can happen and probably will happen someday. Will it be within our lifetimes? Maybe, maybe not. Since there is no way to know for sure before it hits, being ready for it as well as other disasters is just common sense. With any luck at all, maybe it will be the failure to prep that becomes known as being crazy and not successful prepping.

    • Shooter says:

      Ed,

      I doubt it will make much difference. Most people seem doomed to repeat mistakes and not learn from them.

      There are more “important” things to spend time and money on.

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