Pat Shingleton for Nov. 27, 2012

Experts compare the electric grid of the United States with a radial system, similar to a tree. When you break a branch, the twigs are gone; take out a trunk and the tree is gone.

Hurricane Sandy taught New Jersey what Gulf Coast residents have experienced for years: The power grid is vulnerable to severe weather. Experts contend there is no one-size-fits-all remedy that can insulate the aged grid against escalating storms. A review of this year’s storms note Sandy, Isaac and last summer’s “super derecho” have tested the grid with possible solutions.

In the future, smart meters will chart a storm’s path and identify high priority locations, such as hospitals and fire stations. This will further the deployment of response teams to speed the recovery.

Fastcast: Soggy.