- Possible event: Local flooding.
Possible impacts: This would almost certainly not affect our house, which is high on a hill outside not only the 100-year but also the 500-year floodplain, and which has never had more than a trickle of water before. But it could easily flood out low-lying roads in our area.
Necessary steps: In the morning, look outside and see if the roads are flooded. If they are, stay home.
- Possible event: Tainted water supply.
Possible impacts: Most likely, we'll still be able to shower, but we'll have to use our emergency water supplies for drinking and washing dishes.
Necessary steps: Count the number of bottles of water we have stored up in the basement. Conclude that if we're without water for more than two weeks, we might actually have to buy some more. Get some cash.
- Possible event: Power outages.
Possible impacts: Since it's only October and our heating system isn't even fired up yet, we won't freeze to death. If it gets a bit chilly in the house, we've got blankets and warm clothes. Our phone will still work, because it's a cord-connected relic from the 80s. The fridge and microwave won't work—but we've got plenty of canned goods, and we can light our stove with a match. Lights won't work—but we've got flashlights with extra batteries, matches, and plenty of candles. The TV won't work—but we've got board games and lots of books. My computer won't work—but if the outage is local and the roads are passable, then Brian and I can both go to his workplace to get some work done (if I borrow his laptop and transfer files from my backup disk).
Necessary steps: In the morning, check to see if the lights go on. If not, make one quick foray in the fridge to retrieve essentials like the Brita pitcher and the peanut butter and then keep it firmly shut until the power is back on.
- Possible event: Disruption in Internet service.
Possible impacts: I won't be able to work from home, since my work depends heavily on Internet research, but I can go to go to Brian's workplace as described above if the outage is local. If it's widespread, I'll have to take a day off work. And I'll be out of e-mail contact for a while, though we'll still have the phone for emergencies.
Necessary steps: Make sure important e-mails are dealt with before bed.
- Possible event: Disruption in phone service.
Possible impacts: We won't be able to get any calls from political candidates asking for money.
Necessary steps: Keep fingers crossed.
So, our hatches are now securely battened, whatever that means, and all that's left to do is sit back and watch how everything plays out. Frankly, I think the amount of hype we've seen just increases the likelihood that the Storm of the Century will instead turn out to be a Tempest in a Teapot—but luckily, we're prepared for the best as well as the worst.