In case you haven’t heard, the weather is in the news. A large storm that many meteorologists have started calling “Frankenstorm” is bearing down on the East Coast, and is expected to make landfall early next week. Every major media outlet has been breathlessly covering it for the past couple days, typically by dressing attractive people in ponchos and sending them to various beaches up and down the coast to have them point at the ocean and talk about how windy it currently is or will eventually be. I know sometimes the actual message of all these reports can get lost amid the noise, so what I am going to do is answer any questions you might have about the storm in simple, straightforward terms, so you can prepare yourself for any potential impact it may have on you or your family. I am here to help.
Please, fire away:
Why is this storm called “Frankenstorm”?
For a couple reasons. First of all, because it is going to be the result of two large storms combining and turning into one supermegastorm that will make landfall around Halloween. Also, because meteorologists are great at jokes.
Speaking of jokes, aren’t you a little upset that everyone is calling this Frankenstorm when “Hurricane Sandy” would have been a great excuse to make lots of jokes about Olivia Newton-John’s character in Grease?
I am, but I don’t think this is really the time and place for tha-
You know, because hurricanes are windy and after she became Bad Sandy at the end of the movie and started wearing spandex and leather she was probably always…
I get it.
Okay okay, I’ll be serious now.
Thank you. This is dangerous stuff, and you need all the information you can get to protect yourself.
First question: How is Frankenstorm going to affect me?
You are going to die.
WHAT?! But Ive never seen Paris!
Have you seen Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams?
Um, I saw most of it on cable one night.
Good. That is as close as you are going to come to seeing Paris, because you are definitely going to die.
But how do you know?
According to the most recent meteorological information, here is what is going to happen: Hurricane Sandy is going to charge up in the Atlantic Ocean today and tomorrow, then at some point between Sunday night and Tuesday morning it is going to hang a left, combine with a winter storm from the north, turn into Frankenstorm, and make landfall somewhere between Virginia and New England. Most weather models have it taking dead aim at New Jersey and Delaware.
And what is going to happen when it hits land?
You are going to die.
No. I mean, like, specifically.
Oh. The prevailing wisdom is that there will be heavy rain and winds in excess of 60 mph, and that they could last for an extended period of time — a day or two, possibly — because the combination of the two storms will cause it to slow down and spin in place like a giant, murderous top. Flooding, trees coming down, widespread power outages that could last up to a week or more, etc.
Holy crap. And what do I do if all that happens?
Well, hopefully you’ve already picked up all the essentials like bottled water, non-perishable foods, batteries, flashlights, and candles. Also, don’t forget to stock up on any medications you might need over the next week (you don’t want to be stuck without those), and anything else that might help get you through an extended period without electricity or running water.
Hey, I just thought of something.
You know how the presidential election is coming up?
What if the storm and the stuff with the electricity sends a power surge into all the voting machines and they go haywire on Election Day and we end up electing, like, Prince president instead of Obama or Romney?
I don’t think that’s very likely.
I know, but still, what if it happened?
It would be awesome.
Right? He’d probably paint the White House light purple and be all “Dearly beloved, this is a day that will live in infamy” if there’s an attack on our soil. How cool would that be?
We’re getting off topic. Do you have any more questions about the storm before we wrap this up?
Just one. The wind, rain, and extended power outages … isn’t that what happens during pretty much every hurricane?
So why is everyone making a bigger deal about this storm than the ones that hit Florida or North Carolina or Louisiana every single year?
Because this is happening to the Northeast and the weather is more important here.
Because we say it is.
Oh. How do I know how important the weather is where I live?
Do you live between Washington D.C. and Boston?
Do you live in Los Angeles?
Do you live in the parts of New Orleans where white people like to go on vacation and show their private parts to each other on the street?
The weather is not important where you live.
Wait, back up. If this storm is only happening to the Northeast, and, as I just said, I do not live there, does that mean it is not going to affect me?
I suppose so.
So I’m not going to die?
I guess not.
But I am still going to die.
Sucks for you, bro.