That's a Big Twinkie

I’ve been reading about some people expressing frustration that they are still in a bad way after hurricane Sandy — no power, long lines for gasoline, etc. Yes, it’s tough and you have my sympathy and empathy (90 hours without power this summer after being hit with a derecho gives me an inkling of the troubles)

But this was no small thing. The NOAA website discusses the energy released in a hurricane

It turns out that the vast majority of the heat released in the condensation process is used to cause rising motions in the thunderstorms and only a small portion drives the storm’s horizontal winds.

A typical hurricane releases an average of 6 x 10^14 Watts of power — it’ll be higher where there is more rainfall — which is 200 times the electrical energy generation in the world. The wind energy is a fraction of a percent of that, but is still half the world’s electricity generation level. And Sandy was bigger, so the numbers will be higher. All of that, focused on the mid-Atlantic/Northeast coastal areas.

The point is that there was a lot of fury unleashed last week, and it takes some time to recover from that. Gasoline in short supply indicates some of the logistical problems going on. A lot of people, requiring a lot of energy, all of it needing to be imported somehow. All of the behind-the-scenes things we take for granted, until a disruption occurs.