Hurricane Irma is barreling down towards Miami and chargers are working overtime...

moldyoldy

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Re: irma made it so dark

Power was out all around me in southeast Florida. My boys and I were lighting up the whole neighborhood. The 4 of us had a Vinh modded flashlight in each hand, one flooder & one thrower. The neighborhood was lit up far more than it normally is with street lights & front porch lights! LOL

Bolding is mine. This comment correctly reflects my conclusion about the thrower vs flooder argument. neither can replace the other.
compromises can be made, but they are compromises.
from my USFS days and a couple SAR missions in mixed foliage mountainous terrain ranging from hundreds of yards/meters of open country to forest floor under tree canopies and light brush to heavy brush, there is no single light that can cover the distance or width of a search area. More lumens certainly help, but it is amazing how fast 1000 lumens with any type of beam are 'lost' in open terrain!

I would expect that flood waters will only make any lighting solution worse.
 
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HarryN

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Re: irma made it so dark

Just a quick update from my side. My daughter and her friend rented a car in Miami and drove all night (15 hours actually) to a beach hotel on the panhandle. The trip could have happened in 1/2 the time and 1/2 the fuel if they had only opened up both sides of the highway to N bound traffic. A lot more people could have evacuated than actually did if it weren't for the traffic challenges.

In the end, they ended up taking a flight out and ended up in W DC both because the friend's parent's live there, but also the $99 one way flight and it looked at that time like Irma could still be hazardous in that area.

Anyway, both of my adult children in FL either left or are ok so I am happy.

The whole thing reminds me of a tour I took of the Seattle "underground city". Basically the city decided to raise the street level in an area, so some of the buildings have an "original street level entrance" and a "revised street level entrance" about 15 ft higher. Maybe it isn't such a bad idea to do in other areas.
 

ChrisGarrett

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Re: irma made it so dark

Hello...I'm back!

I'll try and keep things concise and to the point.

First off, Miami was nowhere near the disaster that Houston and parts of Texas were after Harvey. We had some flooding in the Brickell (downtown Miami) banking district due to the Miami River surging and perhaps on South Beach (always floods there), but apart from those areas, we were spared and left high and dry.

Winds were an issue and even Cat 1 (74+ mph, gusts of 100+ mph) winds can be scary and take trees/limbs down in the 10s of thousands. I'm in a 433 unit condo complex with many oak/palm type trees and we lost our share, although one could drive out of most parts of the complex, to my main street, which had some lanes blocked, here and there. I'm also on a 500 yard by 500 yard lake fed by two main canals at opposite corners, so water for toilets and even filtering was never going to be an issue, since I have quality water filters here to get potable water in the event I ran out, or the water mains ceased functioning.

That being said, I had clean drinking water the entire time, so showering and toilet flushing wasn't an issue and the sewer was never stressed.

My power did go out on Saturday, at 1:30 pm EST, well before the tropical storm winds (40 mph) started buffeting my condo. My power came back on Tuesday night at 11:30 pm EST, so 82 hours without power. For hurricane Andrew in '92, I was down for 18 hours with water and for hurricane Wilma in '05, I was out of power for only 15 hours with water, for reference.

In 2012, I put together a modest 'car camping/SHTF' kit with things like a Coleman Sundome 4 tent, a couple of warm weather sleeping bags, a minor first aid kit, Coleman propane twin mantle lantern/single burner cooking stove and a Coleman dual fuel (white gas/petrol) single burner stove and twin mantle lantern.

Other things were Swedish Trangia alcohol spirit stoves with cooking platforms, a small cookware set, ferro rod fire starters, an Estwing 16" Camper's ax, Tramontina 18" machete, paracord, 10" O2 Cool D battery/12vdc fans, 60w 12vdc solar setup with 10A digital charge controller, 14w Sunkingdom 5v USB folding solar panel and plenty of 12vdc SLA/AGM mother batteries, NiMH Eneloop type AA/AAA batteries, a boatload of li-ion cells and 12vdc/5vdc chargers, so I was good on rechargeable batteries/power.

In 2013, for Christmas, my buddy sent me a small Harbor Freight 900w two stroke Storm Cat generator, which is a sleeper genny, so I could have run my fridge on/off, if I needed to, although they're prohibited in my condo complex for obvious reasons. I did run a floor fan for 10 minutes on Friday, before the storm, just to see if it ran 4 years later and if fired right up on the third pull with 16 month old ethanol free gas, so that was nice.

I only ran it once more on Tuesday, for 3 minutes, to grind some coffee beans with my Rancilio Rocky grinder!

Just some impressions:

People either have houses on some land, in a rural setting, a house in a tight sub-division, a townhouse, condo, or apartment, so situations will be different depending on where you live and having 100 gallons of gas, 500 gallons of drinkable water, 50,000 Kw of generator power aren't always doable for some, so we play the hand that's dealt to us.

I'm on the third of three floors, without storm shutters, so my biggest concern was window and roof integrity and I was spared on both accounts. I have an ADT alarm system with 7Ah backup battery, but my phone/internet is ATT U-verse, so once the power went out, there was no phone connection and fearing power being out, I wanted to stay put and protect the bunker.

I'm in a nice neighborhood and a gun guy, so security was never an issue.

Here's the nuts and bolts of my 82 hours without power:

One mistake was that I didn't have much ice and what I did have, was gone by day two. My '94 Montero was filled on Friday, so gas wasn't an issue, should I have needed it. I had 2.5 gallons for the generator and new Stihl MS-170 chainsaw I bought the preceding Wednesday, but neither was needed, apart from the coffee beans, lol.

This place is called CandlePowerForums, not FlashlightForums, for an ironic reason--candles can be a helpful solution. I had a bunch of cheap $1 candles in clear glass cups and you'd be very surprised how well they work in a totally darkened environment. 2, 3, or 4 of them strategically spaced can really provide sufficient illumination (unless you want to read a book/magazine) for moving about and doing less detailed things. They last a very long time and are cheap, so getting 15-20 of them from the Dollar Store is a no brainer and they don't self-discharge, or go bad. I've had mine since Wilma in '05 and they did the heavy lifting.

We can have all the killer flashlights we want, but I mostly used my little AA/16340/18650 based lights, predominately on the lower settings. Moonlight modes weren't really helpful and neither were the 1000LM modes, unless I was outside looking around.

Pencil beams weren't needed and floody lights were more helpful, even when outside, in the dark, cruising around.

Food/water are always an issue and I keep canned goods around, but since it was 95*, humid and stressing, eating three squares a day wasn't that much of a priority and losing a little weight was probably a good thing. I didn't really get to my canned goods, as the two supermarkets opened on Monday and there were a couple of restaurants up and running after Sunday, when the storm passed. Most of us can stand to fast a day, or two, anyway and 82 hours wasn't a hardship.

This brings me to another issue, which should be pretty self-evident and that is CASH. Just because a place is open and you've got an American Express Platinum card, does't mean Publix, the Ale House or the gas station can accept credit cards, which many didn't, so have some cash on hand and don't make it a $100 bill--1s, 5s and 10s--maybe a couple of hundred dollars worth will get you by, even through a fortnight.

Lastly, if I had a dollar for every one of my neighbors who were starting up their cars and driving around the parking lot, charging up their cell phones on even Monday, I could buy a new monster light. It was interesting to see that even with the latest iPhone 32, or Samsung Galaxy Billion, nobody had a dinky powerbank. I charged up a couple of neighbor's phones on Tuesday, just to be helpful and one lady was watching a movie on her's and she was down to 35% even!

Also, get a good AM/FM/SW radio like my Tecsun PL-390. It's a stereo jobbie, but without power, it was welcomed entertainment, since many stations were still up and running. If you have a little battery powered set of speakers with 3.5mm input jack and something like a older iPhone/iPod/CD player, you can have some tunes, since any station still up and running will be simulcasting the TV weather crap and that gets old, fast.

I'm sure I'll add some more, but those are just some lessons that I learned. I could have held out a lot longer, since I could charge up my 12vdc mother batteries with my solar panels and keep the fans running, which made living in the heat/humidity, bearable.

Solar charging beach chain and umbrella to keep the sun off, as it's hot out there!

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14w Sunkingdom folder topping off a Ruinovo 4x18650 powerbank on Tuesday morning.

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Two 30w 12vdc Sopray mono panels charging a 22Ah Chrome SLA/AGM battery under the bench.

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12vdc and 5v USB panels charging stuff up.

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Chris
 
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ven

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Re: irma made it so dark

Awesome write up Chris, thanks for sharing and glad it was no where near as bad as forecast. 82hrs is a long time! wow, great ideas with candles and radio etc. In fact I pretty much have candles lit every single night. Find them very therapeutic , watching the flames flicker.
 

StarHalo

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Re: irma made it so dark

Hello...I'm back!

Great reporting! Very helpful, hope there are more posts like these. Some points:

- A hand-cranked conical burr coffee grinder is ~$15; these can give you pro-grinder espresso machine quality results, bearing in mind it takes ~10 mins to grind a serving.

- Place a few shoebox-sized Tupperware containers ~2/3rds full of water in your freezer during normal powered conditions - now when the power goes out, you have large blocks of ice ready to go. Place a couple on one shelf in both the fridge and freezer sections and pack everything around that one shelf, now you have a functional icebox. More containers = more ice, so any ice not needed to cool the food is good to go for chilled beverages.

- The outsized three-wick candles are quite good for static, immediate-area lighting like a table, as they're very stable and very long-lasting.

- There are no cool flashlights once the power goes out; a ceiling-bounced ~100 lumens for a family space, ~25 lumens for doing a task by yourself, ~2 lumens for relaxing alone are all that's needed, more output just puts more light on what you can already see and increases battery drain while reducing your night vision. Cozy and welcoming warm tints are better for morale.

- Your emergency cash kitty should include a bottle or two of booze. Your neighbor might be offended if you offer cash for something needed, but for a bottle of liquor, how neighborly..

- Don't sit through awful corporate radio news repeats, look for a more community-based station that takes calls and gives updates live. If you're good to use your phone for news, the local TV stations usually have the best resources to provide info, but there's only so much info to get once the storm is underway; for morale's sake tune around during the lulls and see what else is on, some good music with dinner, maybe Coast to Coast is on..

- Frog Toggs towels, battery-powered desk fans, Dri-fit clothes should be something anyone in a hot area already has, highly recommended if you haven't tried them.
 

ChrisGarrett

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Re: irma made it so dark

Awesome write up Chris, thanks for sharing and glad it was no where near as bad as forecast. 82hrs is a long time! wow, great ideas with candles and radio etc. In fact I pretty much have candles lit every single night. Find them very therapeutic , watching the flames flicker.

And another thing Ven, have lots of clean underwear, whether cotton briefs, or boxer shorts, since one will be sweating morning, noon and night. Also, another God send: cheesy nylon swim trunks/bathing suits, with the stitched in underwear lining (of whatever style you prefer), for being outside and getting wet.

Nylon bathing suits for men and/or women dry quickly and can be washed in the sink, with dish soap and wrung out quickly enough and be used again shortly thereafter.

Same for the popular synthetic moisture wicking exercise shirts like those from Nike, or Under Armor. I don't like the feel, but they'll dry equally as fast, when cleaned, or just being wet from outside.

I'm a 'cotton' kind of guy and even in 95* temps and hung up, the stuff just takes too long to dry.

I'm not saying I got hammered every night, like everybody in Florida does during a hurricane, but alcohol is a depressant and having a few drinks might make the difference between falling asleep quickly, or staying up without sleep, fretting about the heat and misery.

The first two nights I was getting 4-5 hours of sleep and I was really 'zoning out' by Monday.

Chris
 

blah9

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Re: irma made it so dark

Glad to hear that you fared pretty well, Chris. Thank you for all the tips as well (and from you, StarHalo)!

My latest favorite prep for storms and things like this is the small single 18650 chargers that can also be used as powerbanks. I'm glad that in conjunction with a small solar panel I basically have unlimited days of phone and flashlight power if used sparingly and the sun comes out enough. Pretty cool to hear about your more extensive power replenishment equipment and such.
 

Swordforthelord

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I finally upgraded from my Ultrafire WF-139 to a Nitecore Digicharger D2. I got it a couple days before Irma arrived so it was a perfect opportunity to break it in; I topped off NiMH, 18650's, 17670's, 14500's, 16650's, the works. After all that I (thankfully) only lost power for 30 hours and probably took a grand total of a volt off the AW17670 running my M61WLL.
 

firsttothescene

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A guy with a fleet of 747s risked his life, he could have evaced a ton of people. This guy is a fool. I met him when his airline came to PSP on media day, and he was odd then, like tuned up on something. I said to my self, just go home, this is nothing.

He's another space guy, like Elon Musk, another nut, we didn't go back to the Moon, because there is nothing on the Moon or Mars. That is why congress defunded the Apollo missions, and travel to Mars will never take place with humans. My thing is all the billionaires lost their minds along time ago, and large suns of money do that, (That is true), hence this guy staying on the island for no reason.

Another ugly rich guy house, blown away! with wine cellar, but of course! And the proof is the $5.00 light he was gifted from Bezos. And I wager, not a spare battery in hundreds of miles!
Not very nice judging people.
 

bykfixer

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Welcome back Chris, Glad you are OK.

John.

Yup! Agreed

And glad you made it through Aileen safely TB....

We're readying for Jose' where I live... gas grill tank full, lots of gatorade and will acquire bananas, plenty of dry cereals and and canned beans for (cowboy style) protein, among other items. And being the owner of a few hundred working flashlights the battery supply is plentiful.
 
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Going_Supernova

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Yup! Agreed

And glad you made it through Aileen safely TB....

We're readying for Jose' where I live... gas grill tank full, lots of gatorade and will acquire bananas, plenty of dry cereals and and canned beans for (cowboy style) protein, among other items. And being the owner of a few hundred working flashlights the battery supply is plentiful.

Since you might be cooped-up together for awhile with those beans, you might want to lay in a supply of Beano...just sayin'. :eeew::laughing:

https://youtu.be/VPIP9KXdmO0
 

TinderBox (UK)

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I remember reading years ago that your home could explode by the pressure difference if your house is really buttoned up tight, you should leave windows slightly open on the side not facing the hurricane/tornado is there any truth in this?

John.
 

terjee

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Great writeup, highly appreciated!

Speaking of underwear, somewhat depending on your climate, there's something to be said for merino wool. Thinking mostly about boxers, socks and tshirts, in that order.

They're naturally antibacterial, easy to wash, dries relatively easily, and so on.

People always think warm when it comes to wool, but thin wool clothing items are not THAT warm.
 

Empath

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I remember reading years ago that your home could explode by the pressure difference if your house is really buttoned up tight, you should leave windows slightly open on the side not facing the hurricane/tornado is there any truth in this?

John.

According to Snopes that was once thought to be the case, but, present information indicates the opposite.
 

bykfixer

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My dads next door neighbor has had his upstairs windows slightly open since the 1970's. So far his house has not exploded.
My dads house is sealed up pretty tight and so far it hasn't exploded.
Then again a tornadoe has not hit either. Hurricane Camile and Isabell eyes both passed over though as Cat 1's.

Now about 350 paces away a huge old barn exploded from hurricane spawned tornadoes and a well insulated house did too. Both looked like the jolly green giant had stomped on them.
I suppose it kinda comes down to fate as much as science. Probably too many variables to completely and acurately decide if cracking windows is required. But man always likes to explain things...

In my short lifespan all the scientific buzz was that eggs would shorten your lifespan. Now science does not say so. Science said coffee would shorten your life. Now it doesn't. They say loading up with caffine won't shorten your life but used to say the caffine in coffee would...

Me? If a hurricane is coming my way I'll know my house has enough air leaks that cracking windows won't really change much. But I also know we don't breath the same stale air over and over like my buddy whose home comfort system goes into fresh air mode at 12 noon and 12 midnight. In the event of a hurricane spawned tornadoe we'll both see what fate has to say about it.

Meanwhile thank goodness Irma was not as bad as feared for many.
 
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Going_Supernova

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I remember reading years ago that your home could explode by the pressure difference if your house is really buttoned up tight, you should leave windows slightly open on the side not facing the hurricane/tornado is there any truth in this?

John.


As one who lives in tornado alley, and who has studied tornadoes, I can assure you that the old "open the windows to equalize the pressure" is nonsense. Tornadoes destroy homes by wind load exceeding the strength of the construction. Air moving over the roof creates lift, and wind pushing against walls push them in, then the roof lifts off and the rest of the house gets blown to splinters. Besides, there is enough wind-borne debris along with wind load to break out windows. Once the high speed wind gets inside, it helps to blow the house apart. Opening windows is a bad idea because: 1) It delays you taking shelter, 2) it exposes you to wind-borne debris and broken glass fragments if the window breaks, 3) it does absolutely nothing to save the house, and in fact, by allowing wind inside, can create more damage than if left shut.
 

PhotonWrangler

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I agree. Keep the windows closed during a hurricane or tornado. The Mythbusters even tested this myth, and while it seemed to hold up on a small scale model in the NASA Langley wind tunnel, it fell apart during a full scale test in Florida. The difference between open and closed windows was negligible.
 

bykfixer

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If I lived in tornadoe alley I'd try to invent a roof flaps system like they have in Nascar.

The trunk of my Honda Prelude has something like a backflow preventer so that when the trunk is closed it releases the sudden build up of pressure inside the trunk. Yet they don't allow the rain in.

A roof flap system in a house could use the crawl space vents as the inlet, the wall cavities on the inner portions of the house as the conduit and attic vents as the outlet.

To keep heat and cold at bay a simple gravity louver system similar to outside dryer vent covers could be strategically placed (like the trunk of my Prelude has) and it would at least potentially reduce the damage caused by an F1 tornadoe.

But those mile wide monsters? Well that's all about fate.
 
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