Hopefully by now, folks all along the East Coast from the Carolinas on Northward are making preparedness plans and gathering supplies in preparation for Irene. I'd like to point out something that you may not consider. In today's modern technological world, many folks rely solely on their cellphones and/or smartphones for communication. A lot of folks (myself included) don't even have a "land line" phone in their home anymore. If you have to evacuate your home and seek shelter elsewhere, you're even more likely to have to rely on your cellphone for communication.
With that in mind, when you're out gathering supplies and preparing this week, please consider purchasing an emergency battery power supply for your cellphone or smartphone. I highly recommend, and use myself, the "Enercell", as pictured at the top of this post. It's available at RadioShack both in the store and online.
Before the storm hits, just plug this unit into the USB port of any computer and charge it up. If the power goes out later on and the battery runs down on your cellphone, smartphone or similar device, just plug it into the Enercell for up to an additional 8 hours of talk time (depending on usage). The package includes a USB-to-mini USB cable, a mini USB-to-micro USB tip and an Apple cable to fit the vast majority of devices out there today.
Please also remember that in the event of a widespread emergency, cellphone and other communication channels will likely be jammed. Please limit your phone calls to true emergency situations only if you find yourself in such a situation. I suggest designating one family member or friend that lives in a region outside of the threat area and agreeing to let that person know that you are okay (perhaps by e-mail or text message instead of using the voice channel), and then let that person pass the word on to the rest of the family.
The Enercell is just one device that I highly suggest you have as a part of your Severe Weather Safety Kit. Please refer to that original post for details on the other items that would come in handy during a hurricane or other severe weather situation.
If you enjoy reading 'The Original Weather Blog', please be sure to "like" our facebook page!