How to Weather Hurricane Season


This is an update to an article I wrote for Observer.com.

Simple and affordable ways to get through power outages in an urban environment

It’s that time of year again. Hurricane season. For city dwellers, it usually not a big deal. It’s sorta like being in the big brick house while the wolf huffs and puffs. You’ll see TV coverage of houses being damaged by falling trees, flooding rains… or hear about power outages everywhere else. But it’s not a problem for you, right?

Hurricane Sandy changed a lot of people’s perspective on what a large storm means to the NYC area. But what can you do if the power goes out again? People in the suburbs all went out and bought generators ‘just in case’. They can fire it up, plug it into their house and get along pretty well. Some homeowners even threw down big money for those whole house generators that come on all by themselves as soon as the power goes out! They haven’t a care in the world! But you’re on the top floor of a brownstone in Brooklyn. Or maybe you’re on the 25th floor in a high rise in Midtown. Or a basement apartment in the East Village. Maybe your building will get a generator online if there is a prolonged power outage- but probably not. So what can you do?

It turns out- quite a lot! And for a pretty reasonable amount of money!

Power for your phone:

It has been proven scientifically that humans cannot survive without water or their smartphones. (I made that up). The problem is, smartphone batteries don’t last very long (understatement). There are endless options for this. I own and have used several of them.

Amazon sells the Anker 2nd Generation Astro E3 battery for under $29. I bought two of these for a recent vacation, and never had to worry about power. My iPhone 5C will charge from dead to full at least four times before the battery pack itself needs to be charged again. It’s as large as an iPhone a weighs about twice as much- but I find I can’t live without it, even on my daily commute. Keep one or two of these charged at all times, and you might just make it through the week with no power.

I had also purchased a previous version of a similar item from a company called New Trent. It’s now called the New Trent Torch 5200mAh USB Port battery. It costs more than the Anker version, but is lighter and delivers more charges. It’s a very solid and reliable charger- and they’ve even thrown in a flashli