If, like me, you see more weather weirdness ahead, you want a solar-powered weather radio that can keep you informed, charge your cell phone and light your path.
We live high on a hill in Manhattan. Our total damage from Sandy: the wind blew soot down the fireplace onto the Oriental carpet. Loss of power? Didn’t happen.
But we were prepared. That’s the legacy of 9/11. Thyroid pills to counter the effects of radiation. Water. Rice. And a hand-cranked weather radio.
Our radio is ancient, a bulky relic. The new ones? Wow. Solar power. USB ports. Cell phone chargers. More channels on the radio. Easier cranking, if it comes to that. And a dramatic shrinkage in size. Like the Etón American Red Cross ARCFR160R Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger. [To buy this radio from Amazon, click here.]
Cool things to know:
Solar works. So the radio can sit for months, fully charged, and snap instantly to life. On a windowsill, the solar cell charges fast. If the charge is exhausted, a minute of hand cranking will generate enough power for a half hour of radio.
Four-plus hours of radio (AM, FM and weather channels) on a single charge. You can charge your cell phone. (You can do that quicker if you plug the phone into your laptop, which, before the storm, you have prudently charged. For that matter, you can charge this radio from your laptop. But you can’t charge your iPod, or even connect it.)
Three LED lights. In a pinch, it’s a decent flashlight.
Headphone jack, so you can listen to music and zone out.
Worst case: Slip it into a jacket pocket if you need to flee. Okay, that last is not a cheery thought. But this is not exactly a birthday gift or stocking stuffer. Or is it?