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View Full Version : Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

David McNamee
08-12-2004, 06:11 PM
As if I haven't been busy enough lately with my new career, Ma Nature decides to have a little fun with the Carribbean and Gulf of Mexico. My state is about to get hit by two tropical systems. Tropical Storm Bonnie is headed for the panhandle. Hurricane Charley (http://weather.mgnetwork.com/cgi-bin/weatherIMD3/weather.cgi?user=TBO&alt=hurricane&hwvTemplate=hurricane/storms/tracker.html&hwvStorm=WTNT43) is headed right for my doorstep.

What has this got to do with Smartphones? A little. I've lived in the Bay Area (Tampa, not the other one!) my entire life - this isn't my first hurricane. I want to pass on a couple of cell phone tips for those of you living along the Gulf and Atlantic hurricane allies.


Tip #1 Batteries - Having more than one cell phone battery right now is critically important. Those of you in mandatory evacuation zones are likely to be in a shelter that doesn't have nearly enough outlets to let you plug your phone in each night. If you have more than one battery, that condition won't bother you.

Try to conserve the battery power you do have. It will be tempting to surf the web for the latest weather info every ten minutes, or loop through the songs you've stored on an SD card. Resist the tempation. You may need that phone for other things later. Also, play with the phone's settings a bit to eek out battery life. Switch to a plain home screen if you have plug-ins, and set backligh timeouts as low as you can tolerate.

Tip #2 Getting Wet - Most of us down here are going to be out in the rain at some point. Getting your Smartphone soaked isn't going to help your mood any. If you haven't got a fancy water-tight case, use the next best thing: a ZipLock bag and masking tape. Put the phone in the bag, leaving the hands-free earpiece hanging out of the bag. Seal the bag, and use the masking tape to secure the seal and close any gaps caused by having the earpiece hanging out. It's cheap, ugly, and beats having a wet phone.

Tip #3 Land Lines - A few of you have switched to using your cell phones almost exclusively. Be sure that your land lines still work. This hurricane is going to be a major test for our cellular infrastructure. I have high hopes that it will perform well, but you never know. There could be a point in the next few days that land lines could be the only reliable form of communication.

Tip #4 Plan Where You'll Be - In case there is a communications failure, it is a very good idea to communicate with your family where meeting locations should be. This will save everyone a lot of panic and worry.

Be safe everyone!

08-12-2004, 07:26 PM
I live in Apex, NC, and we're right in line to get dumped on by both storms about 24 hours after you. I don't expect as much wind as you'll get, but we're bracing for some serious flooding.

I'm curious, do solar-powered cellphone chargers work well when the skies are cloudy? In one recent hurricane, people in our area were without power, water, and phones for up to 2 weeks. Since we've also switched to VOIP for land line phone service, no power also means no land line for us.

Interestingly, when I lived in Seattle and we had our big earthquake, cell towers were quickly overloaded since many land lines went down. Our saviours? Those good old grizzly HAM radio guys :)

Mike Temporale
08-12-2004, 09:20 PM
Best - o - luck David, and anyone else that's in the path. Keep dry, and warm!

08-13-2004, 03:29 AM
People in the hurricane areas might consider buying those cheap two way walkie talkie radios from some electronics store like Fry's. Give one each to near and dear ones when venturing away from each other out of sight. And of course keep extra batteries for them.

I realised the value of having something like that when I went to an amazing Oasis of a place called Havasupai Indian Reservation deep in the Grand Canyons AZ (the place is really on unbelievable Oasis around a cool blue river and water falls deep within the Grand Canyon). The place was so remote that even the ubiquitous Analog signals didn't reach deep into the canyon. Unfortunately someone got injured and the evacuation had to be coordinated, that's when the utility of those walkie talkies lent by another group to the people coordinating the evac dawned upon me.

Kris Kumar
08-13-2004, 04:59 AM
ZipLock bags..cool tip..have to use it the next time I go rafting or visit Niagara Falls :lol:

All the best to folks in the hurricane's path...stay safe.

08-13-2004, 07:08 AM
I'm here in Palm Harbor (Tampa Bay area) waiting for the hurricane too! fun...