Weather forecasters use terms like snowstorms, derechos, hailstorms, rainstorms, blizzards, low-pressure systems, lightning storms, hurricanes, typhoons, nor‘easters, and twisters. Research meteorologists call them thunderstorms and cyclones. All are atmospheric disturbances that redistribute heat and produce some combination of extreme wind and precipitation.
Storms feed off of heat, which is why scientists think global warming is driving both the frequency and intensity of storms. Extra heat in the atmosphere or ocean nourishes storms; the more heat energy that goes in, the more vigorously a weather system can churn.
Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT, showed that Atlantic hurricanes are about 60 percent more powerful than they were in the 1970s. Storms now last longer and their top wind speeds have increased by 25 percent.
William Lau, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, concluded in a 2012 paper that rainfall totals from tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic have risen at a rate of 24 percent per decade since 1988.
Precautions that homeowners can take
Homeowners have much to think about when the weather forecast turns nasty. More wind means downed trees which, in turn, can mean more downed power lines and blown out utility power transformers. More water means an increased threat of flooding. And lightning that accompanies many rainstorms can result in damaging power surges that wreak havoc on home electrical systems (and any devices that might be plugged into your walls). Even a distant strike near an electrical supply system can be destructive. The tens of thousands of volts created by a lightning strike can run along power lines and destroy the inner workings of sensitive home electronics.
Whatever the cause (wind, water or electrical surges), power outages expose the home network to frustrating downtime which results in interrupted access to online content and services, and potential loss of the computer, tablet, or cell phone that happens to be charging when a storm hits.
Fortunately, homeowners can take steps to counteract these threats and to limit any damage or inconvenience caused by storm-related chaos. One front line device is the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). These are small devices equipped with high intelligence and a battery that offer protection from lightning surges, power sags, swells and blackouts, and that safeguard your investment in computing and networking equipment. The battery inside provides run-time, when the electrical supply to your house is cut off.
Home UPSs have also evolved as important enablers of home network remote management and availability. In fact, some home UPSs are capable of monitoring a network connection and of automatically cycling power to a smart outlet in order to reboot a hung modem or router. Users no longer need to be at home to physically unplug and restart the frozen device. In addition, smart outlets can be configured to provide either surge only, or backup battery and surge protection, extending battery backup time for only the devices that need it (e.g., if your power is out and your cell phone battery is dead, you have the option of charging the phone with the UPS).
Preparing for storms does not need to be expensive or complicated; a wide range of affordable UPS solutions provide safe, reliable power, protecting electrical equipment and data. The APC Back-UPS® Pro family, for example, offers home and small business owners guaranteed power protection for high performance computer systems, routers/modems, external storage devices, gaming consoles and other electronics. The Back-UPS Pro offers a power-saving high efficiency charging system and an automatic voltage regulator to help reduce power consumption, which is ideal for cost conscious home office professionals. For users who want Certainty in a Connected World, these types of products represent innovation, flexibility, security and energy efficiency all rolled into one. Applications can be as unique as a device that acts as a backup for home surveillance camera systems, or even maintenance of power to an electric fence that keeps a horse or dog safely confined to one’s property.