Hurricane Sandy is officially making its mark on Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, as all of Philadelphia is under a flood warning according to the National Weather Service Forecast Office’s latest update at 5:17 p.m.; a warning that will continue throughout the evening until at least 7:30 p.m. However, this warning may be extended, and whether it is or not will depend on how conditions change throughout the evening.
So, with the brunt of Hurricane Sandy inching closer, and with more and more residents under flood warnings and having to evacuate, let’s look at the best ways that Philadelphians can keep track of Hurricane Sandy – at least while the power is still on here in Philadelphia, as PECO is already reporting outages in Bensalem, just a hop, skip and a jump from here.
National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, National Weather Forecast Office, and NOAA
Although it was horrendously windy and raining on and off in my area of Philadelphia since about midnight, I was able to get to the store this morning. The niceness was short-lived, though, and ended at about 2 p.m., as Sandy continued to close in on Philadelphia and it started pouring. The rain has yet to let up, and doesn’t look like it will any time soon.
In fact, according to the National Weather Service and its map of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, the above mentioned flood warning was posted to the website at 1:50 p.m., as were wind warnings.
The National Weather Service Forecast Office, the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Office are all branches of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and all three are great for instant and up to date information on Hurricane Sandy, not to mention every other possible weather situation.
All three websites target specific zip codes as entered into the site, which is ideal because Philadelphia consists of 77 zip codes, so knowing what is going on with Hurricane Sandy in my neck of the woods (19135) may not help you in yours. NOAA and its branches offer continuous updates about every 15 minutes and makes them available on a mobile version of the site, the official NHC Facebook page and the official NHC Twitter page as well.
Using the interactive map on this site, viewers can enter zip code information, or click the map in the area they live for current local updates. The website also makes PDFs, videos, and podcasts available with extra important information, and offers a host of resource links for further information.
Google Crisis Response and Crisis Map: Yes, even Google is helping keep us safe with Google Crisis Response. The Google Crisis Response Website taps into Public Alerts via the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP 1.2), and government and public organizations can sign up to be a part of the Crisis Response team. Currently, Google is using the Crisis Response site to bring us a new interactive Hurricane Sandy Google Crisis Map, which displays a map Hurricane Sandy’s current position, where it was, and its projected path across the East Coast.
On the right of the page is a list of other information including:
- Sourcing information for the map,
- Links to other crisis and information websites
- Options from which map viewers can choose to customize information displayed
Some of the map customization choices available include cloud cover, YouTube Videos of the storm, Hurricane evacuation routes, traffic conditions, storm surge information, and other information relevant to the storm and current climate conditions.
Ready.gov: Ready.gov’s slogan, “Ready. Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.” is one that should be heeded as Hurricane Sandy slams down on the East Coast while ripping up boardwalks in Ocean City, MD, and Atlantic City, NJ, and flooding coastal areas from Virginia to Maine.
On Ready.gov, which is viewable from a computer or a mobile device, visitors can view important information about general hurricane safety including what to do before, during and after a storm. Ready.gov also offers links to other resources including to the National Hurricane Center, which is covering Hurricane Sandy in depth. Whether you are in the path of Hurricane Sandy or not, everyone should bookmark this website to learn how to stay safe if and when a disaster strikes in your area.
Current conditions in Philadelphia
As of the time of publishing, Hurricane was about to make landfall in Atlantic City, and the wind has gotten much stronger here in Philadelphia. Obviously, this writer’s power is still on, but since PECO reports that there are scattered outages in my area, this could change at any moment.
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