These few storm tips may be a bit late, but something tells me we could be in for a lot of rough weather over the next few months and years.
Many folks have written of practical things to do in advance of a storm....batteries, candles, water, fill the tub, and all that.
Here are some that are a little outside the box.
(1) Buy an inverter that works in the cigarette lighter of your car. Fill the gas tank and be sure your battery is charged. Use the inverter to charge cell phones, your laptop, batteries and other portable devices. You don't have to run the car the whole time, particularly if the weather is mild, but it is good to do so to keep the main battery charged.
(2) Buy rechargeable batteries. I use Rayovac and Eneloop hybrids. Hundreds of charges, they maintain a charge for a long time, and they save you tons of money. There are a lot of great deals on Amazon which include a charger (though you can use virtually any charger with them).
(3) Cell phone. Like that iPhone or Windows phone? Great devices they are, but guess what? Terrible battery life, especially on the latest high speed nets which suck the life out of them, particularly here in Northborough. My advice, learned the hard way, is to purchase a Samsung Droid. Its easy to slip the back off and replace the battery with one you can purchase on Amazon for a couple of bucks. Buy two or three and you're good for a week or so. If your home power and phone lines go (as in FIOS), you may have cell service. You want to keep access as long as possible. Oh, and get one that is easily charged from your laptop or the cigarette lighter in your car (with a USB plug in or inverter; Samsung, unlike Apple, uses el cheapo connect cables and plugs). You can even buy a very cheap little device that can charge individual cell batteries when connected to a power source. Unless the main cell systems collapse you can remain highky productive, especially if you get aps that read pdfs and MS files, allow note taking, etc. Don't forget to use your phone to take pics of the storm! Tie into the new Mass emergency warning system.
(4) Laptop or Netbook. Get one that has very long battery life. I have a netbook that runs about ten hours. And an extra battery for it. Ok, you may not want to work a lot, or you may, but here's the thing: if you have followed my advice you can easily charge your cell phone from it. No need to go out in the rain, get in the car, etc. I am sure to power off my netbooks and laptop as soon as the power goes down. That saves the battery for emergency uses.
(5) Supplemental lighting. Head over to Walmart and get some little lamps that run forever on a couple of AA batteries. A lot safer than candles or kerosene lamps (both of which are a good idea nevertheless). We have camp stoves, a heater and lantern that run on Coleman fuel, easily found at Rocky's or Walmart.
(6) For fun. Get an MP3 player that runs on batteries and a little speaker system that does likewise. You can light a candle, crack open some wine, read a Kindle (or use a Kindle ap on your cell phone), maybe light a fire, check your email and enjoy the storm.You might want to invest in one of those Eton or other radios that can be cranked or run off solar power. I have one but prefer a standard battery powered radio that has short wave and emergency bands. Suppose we have some kind of big time cyber attack....would be good to hear what the BBC has to say.
This all said, keep an eye out in case a neighbor needs help, and vote for candidates who want to do something about the global climate change that is going to make a lot of device makers rich. Let me know if you find one.