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Hurricane Ida can leave power without power for weeks. Experts offer these tips for survival.

Satellite images of Hurricane Ida before it hits the Louisiana coast Sunday morning.

NOAA

Hurricane Ida is a life-threatening hurricane approaching Category 5, with Louisiana at the center of its focus. It is forecast to hit the Gulf Coast on Sunday with winds of 150 mph. Evacuations have been carried out throughout the region and utility companies predict The power will go out for days, and other areas could take weeks to recover.

The National Hurricane Center warns that the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi will be affected by “life-threatening” ocean surges and “potentially catastrophic” wind damage. Ida is expected to make landfall exactly 16 years after the day Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm, devastated the area. The Governor of Louisiana. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and warned that Ida would be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the state since the 1850s.

The worst of the destruction will be for those in the path of the eye of the storm. The problems with downed trees and power lines will spread to a much wider area. Going without power for three hours is one thing, but surviving for three days or more requires the strategy of a survivor.

Sarah Tew / CNET

In today’s smartphone-dependent world, those in the path of a storm cannot count on apps being the sole source of news and communication with the outside world. A hurricane like this can leave many stranded without power for days in a dark house with nothing but a dead phone battery.

I grew up in South Florida, where planning to go a week without power is part of the norm for the summer hurricane season. I will never forget that my family huddled around battery-operated radio and television for information after Category 5 monster Andrew swept through entire nearby neighborhoods. Now I keep my family ready with backup power supplies and bags full of basics, in case an evacuation is necessary.


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There is no app for this

Of course, stocking up on enough water and canned food for a week is important, but it’s just as vital to think about how you’ll power up essential technology, including your phone, lights at night, and even a small energy-efficient radio or LED TV for news ( that is, as long as you have an antenna to pick up broadcast signals over the air). In an emergency, you cannot rely on your phone for news.

To get a first-hand perspective, I went to survivors, including Lt. Colonel Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret who served in conflict zones and now trains corporate executives on how to resist in the wild. Mann emphasizes the importance of having a variety of backup power sources.

Before you turn to a battery, Mann explains, you’ll need to change your phone habits. Gaming or scrolling on Facebook is not allowed (except to receive news about the safety of your loved ones, of course). Your phone is now a survival tool. Turn it off to save power unless you need to communicate with someone.

Keep in mind that even if you have the power, talking to Mom may be impossible, at least for a while. Cell phone towers, if in operation, are not designed to handle everyone in a certain area trying to use their phone at once. Hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross has seen this firsthand during monster storms. During Hurricane Andrew, he was the voice of my family who I counted on through his radio broadcasts. Now share your storm warnings with the world via your facebook other Twitter posts. He sees the possible complications with our dependence on the telephone.

“It is very scary that there is a significant part of the population that does not have a way to get information if cell phones do not work,” says Norcross. “That is the biggest public safety problem we have.”

He advises that if there is network congestion, send a text message instead of calling. Not only does it consume less network resources, but even if the text gets stuck in a network traffic jam, it should eventually pass.

Juice

An outage can last a day or a week, so you will need a few options for backup battery packs. They come in many sizes and capacities, depending on how much you are willing to spend. A power bank, like those made by Anker – they are good for traveling, but you can also buy larger battery packs that could even power your TV in short intervals. There he is Duracell Powerpack Pro other Black & Decker Power Station, which are also sold to jump start car batteries. On the price side there are some like the Jackery Portable Power Station, which can handle TV, fan and some phones.

However, once you buy them, don’t let the batteries sit in your closet for a year and expect them to work when disaster strikes. Batteries degrade over time and leaving one idle is a sure way to kill it. But as a general rule of thumb, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, keep it charged and use it occasionally, and store it in a cool room to preserve it longer.


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Don’t forget: the car can also charge your devices in an emergency. And make sure you have enough gas in your tank for driving if you need to evacuate quickly.

goalzero solar charger

Goal Zero manufactures a variety of solar chargers.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Solar support

Tents are a great resource for finding good portable solar battery chargers. But think of solar chargers to back up your backup. It can take a long time to harness enough power for a single phone, sometimes at least five hours of direct sunlight.

When shopping for a solar charger, know that the larger the panel, the more successful the charge will be. And since not all solar chargers will store energy for long periods, you need to transfer the collected juice to another battery pack. Plan on spending $ 50- $ 100 to get a decent one – the best models are made by Zero target other RAVPower – and always look for products with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Give him some gas

If you plan to buy a gas generator, you will want a UPS package, which is short for uninterruptible power supply. Gas generators can produce “dirty” power, which means that the voltage fluctuates and can damage electronic components. Using a UPS to filter power can keep your tech from frying, says Norcross.

Some generator models, such as the Honda EU2200 series, they come with a built-in inverter to pump more stable power to your computers. George Hill, a former soldier and survival expert who has been through a lot of storms, says Honda models are small enough to store under a bed and can run for about eight hours on a gallon of gas ( depending on the load). At around $ 1,000, it’s a hefty investment, but it could make a big difference when there is no power in the long run. And while this may seem obvious, never run a gas generator indoors, no matter how desperate you are for power. Carbon monoxide will kill you.

Food, water, and shelter are important parts of your storm survival plan. But here is a checklist of the equipment you will need to maintain power during an extended outage:

  • Battery powered flashlight and headlights (and lots of extra batteries).
  • Do you need to evacuate and you won’t have a car? Make sure you have a handheld GPS that runs on AA batteries.
  • Hikers wear a Locate personal tracking GPS so your loved ones know where you are on a map and can get help at the push of a button. This is also useful when you cannot use a telephone to inform people if you need emergency assistance or to send an explosive message to the family that you are okay.
  • Get an extra-long, heavy-duty extension cord (over 200 feet). If the neighbor has power before you, they may lend you an outlet.
  • Don’t just rely on backup batteries from weak phones. Get a heavy duty portable power pack, which costs $ 200- $ 300. They can even start a car.
  • A gas generator and UPS to filter power are helpful in keeping you sane in the long run. Just learn how to use it before disaster strikes, and don’t use it indoors.
  • Solar power can be a savior when all other batteries die and you can’t leave your home. Don’t just look for the cheapest on Amazon. The bigger the panel to absorb the rays, the better. Get one with warranty to ensure quality.
  • Don’t count on the crank if you can help it. Get a portable battery-powered radio to stay on top of the news.
  • Can you watch TV news without cable? If you live in a metropolitan area, you should be able to pick up broadcast signals with a digital television antenna. Use it with an energy efficient LCD TV so you don’t waste all the battery juice at once.

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