Millions of people on the East Coast are in the eye of Hurricane Sandy as we count down the days to Halloween. Adults are doing their final storm preparations in advance of the approach of the ‘Frankenstorm.’
Kids are wondering if they will get to go out trick-or-treating for Halloween. It’s all a matter of perspective. Halloween is a lot more important to kids than weather.
Many East Coast families spent the weekend bringing outdoor furniture and toys inside to avoid the objects taking to the air this week. Grocery stores were busy as people stocked up on water and other necessities.
Hurricane force winds are forecast to extend outward 175 miles and tropical-storm-force winds to extend 520 miles out. The storm is definitely not one to take lightly.
Hurricane Sandy has already done significant damage at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Photos and video posted on Facebook show houses under water and damage in Virginia and North Carolina.
The Sunday 5 p.m. alert from the National Weather Service includes words like “life-threatening” and “hurricane-force winds.” There were no changes made for the 8 p.m. alert.
Schools in many areas have been cancelled for the next couple of days. The U.S. Government will shut down in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Many local government offices and businesses in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have followed suit.
See list of Washington D.C. area cancellations
Over 1,000 flights on the East Coast were cancelled on Sunday and thousands have been cancelled for Monday due to high winds from the approaching storm. Amtrak, Metro and bus service have also been suspended in many parts of the East Coast.
There are blizzard warnings, winter storm warnings and watches and high wind warnings in parts of Virginia and West Virginia flashing across the TV screen as we speak.
The ‘Frankenstorm’ has the potential to make history as it morphs into a serious winter storm. All conditions are right for the hurricane to meet up with a cold front and bring 2-3 feet of snow in the mountains of West Virginia and 1-2 feet of snow to other parts of the East Coast.
Mandatory evacuations are in place in coastal areas, including many places in New York and New Jersey. There’s a big possibility that the storm may come on shore in New York or New Jersey. Those in New Jersey can follow Governor Chris Christie’s updates on Twitter, including his most recent press briefing.
Hopefully, all of these actions will end up being overkill; however, the name of the game is safety first and nobody wants to take chances with the huge size of the storm.
Many parents may face days without power and with kids stuck indoors. Once the immediate danger of the storm passes, there will be bored kids with no access to video games or DVDs.
Families may be on their own without power for a few days, especially those who may face a foot or more of snow or flooded roads.
Planning ahead can help at a time like this. In addition to having a week’s worth of water and food, plan ahead for what to do with the kids too.
Parents will want to have flashlights and candles to provide light and foods that can be eaten without using power. Some families will be in shelters while others shelter-in-place in their homes.
Parents can plan ahead with indoor activities to occupy the kids by pulling out the old stand-by board games and art supplies. If you haven’t carved your pumpkins yet, tonight’s a good night. If the power goes out, it will be more difficult to see for pumpkin carving.
It remains to be seen whether Halloween will proceed as normal, but it’s highly likely the festivities will be postponed or cancelled in some areas.
Although parents can’t make trick-or-treating happen, kids can dress up in their costumes and put on a Halloween fashion show at home.
Some other indoor activities families can enjoy together during a power outage include scavenger hunts, Charades, making tent houses in the den and lots of arts and crafts.
All of those on the East Coast should be making their final preparations for Hurricane Sandy. Make sure you have batteries, an emergency kit and necessary supplies. Stay safe and don’t take chances with standing water. Stay indoors unless it’s an emergency.
As Governor Christie said in his press briefing, “Use your common sense. Stay home. Be smart.”