The Feared Shortages May Be Upon Us

On October 6 I posted the piece below pertaining to the potential for critical shortages to develop if the winter as a whole was colder than normal or if there was a period of extreme cold and snow. 
The last two weeks, we've had colder than average weather with a great deal of snow east of the Rockies. The dominoes are beginning to fall.

Of course, this means layoffs of their workers and -- likely -- layoffs among their parts suppliers. 

Next is the Canadian truckers strike. Remember, a number of goods in the USA depend on Canadian parts. There are rumors that some US truckers may follow suit. That may mean additional shortages. BNSF Railway (#2 in the US) is in negotiations over new attendance rules and its union may be going on strike. More possible supply disruption. This is a lot of uncertainty. 

The thing that was not known in October was the possibility that Putin would invade Ukraine. While I still believe a full Russian invasion of Ukraine is less than a 50/50 possibility, if it occurs, the USA may be pulled in worse than I first thought. I didn't think we would provide additional troops beyond our NATO commitment. I also didn't think (if tonight's reports are correct) we would be moving B-52's into Europe. 
IF and I emphasize "if" we get into a shooting match with Russia over the Ukraine, does anyone think Putin will not retaliate?! It seems to me the most likely method of retaliation would be to disrupt our utilities, computer networks, and/or our already weakened supply chains. 

That could mean an extended period of disruption across the U.S. that would likely be worse than what we experienced in early spring 2020, during the COVID mess.

I'm not the only putting this puzzle together in a way that is alarming. Sara Hoyts' analysis is here

So, my advice stands: While Sara says two months, I recommend three months of food, water and important supplies or as long a period as you can afford. 

Here is my list of suggestions:
  • Don't wait until the last minute to refill prescriptions. 
  • Make sure you have at least one week's supply of everything you need at all times. Much more, especially regarding food and water, if you can afford it. In most cities, including mine, the water plant is a single point of failure.
  • Donate to now your local food pantry so they can stock up now for people in difficult economic situations.
  • If you can afford it and are so inclined, now would be a great time to get a natural gas or butane generator that can power heating for your home and other crucial items (it is usually impractical to power your whole house). Adding solar to charge a big battery may be a good option. This will only work in some parts of the country and it is expensive but worth considering. 
  • Get a power inverter you can plug into your car's cigarette lighter so you can charge your smartphone and/or computer. 
  • Look at other ways to heat your home in case of power failure: fireplace (order wood now), catalytic heater, or other backup.
  • Emergency lightning other than candles (they started a number of fires in Texas) such as a Coleman battery lantern or one of several other options. 
  • First aid kit.
  • Powerful flashlight. 
  • Extra water and/or water purification supplies. 
  • Fire extinguisher, at least one. I recommend in the bedroom and kitchen. 
  • Manual can opener.
  • Carbon monoxide detector.
  • Baby supplies, especially disposable diapers. 
  • Plenty of extra cash. Credit cards don't work in power failures. 
  • Keep your car as charged as possible or your gasoline tank always above 1/3rd tank. Fill up before a major cold front or forecast blizzard or ice storm. 
  • Extra batteries.
  • Paper plates, cups, etc. 
  • Ice melt. 
  • Ice scraper for your car.
  • Kitty litter for cat food and late winter traction for snow.
  • Dog food.
Can't tell you how much I hope I am wrong about it. But forewarned is forearmed. 


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