Winter Storm and Blizzard Update: 5:10pm CST Tuesday

I was at the gym (I live in Wichita) this afternoon and found that no one I spoke to (four people) knew that the cold wave and snow were on the way! Please make sure your friends and family are aware of this winter storm, especially if they are traveling by car or air. 
  • There will be a huge number of cancelled and delayed flights -- be prepared for an extended delay at an airport. Take your own food; do not count on airport vendors to be open.
  • Better still, fly out before 6pm Wednesday. Change your reservation, if possible. 
  • Driving? Getting stuck in a rural area could be life-threatening!
I posted on the cold wave earlier this afternoon. Click here with regard to temperatures. 

National Weather Service Watches and Warnings
  • Orange = Blizzard Warning (this will likely be expanded tomorrow to cover a larger area Wednesday night and Thursday).
  • Pink = Winter Storm Warning. This, too, will likely need to be expanded.
  • Dark green = Winter Storm Watch
  • Brown/Gold = High Wind Forecast
  • Magenta = Wildfire Danger Forecast
  • Purple = Winter Weather Advisory (lesser condition for snow)
Note: There warnings for cold temperatures all the way to the Gulf coast. See my post here pertaining to the extreme cold.

Storm Timing

Forecast Snow Thursday (12:01am to 11:59pm CST)
Blizzard warnings will be needed for a large area of the Midwest due to gusts above 40 mph and drifting snow. 

Forecast Snow Friday (6am Thursday to 6pm CST Friday)
It is intentional the maps overlap in time. I want them to be easy for travelers to use. 

In addition to the dangers to health from the cold itself, there are several other issues:
  • Bursting pipes
  • Power failures
  • Natural gas shortages
Here's how to mitigate some of the issues:
  1. Complete Christmas travel before the Siberian air arrives along your route and at your destination. If you are traveling by air, move up your departure. 
  2. Get cash (ATM's don't work without power) and fill your car with fuel. Get important prescriptions refilled.
  3. Make sure you have "ice melt," sand or kitty litter to spread on driveways, sidewalks and porches for traction. It doesn't melt anything with temperatures of zero, but you will appreciate traction of you have snow and ice.
  4. If you have an infirm friend or relative who may need help, move them in with you before the cold air arrives. 
  5. Public officials should make provisions for the homeless. 
  6. Disconnect garden hoses! Turn on a small stream of water, flowing water is less likely to freeze. It will be nearly impossible to get a plumber if burst pipes are widespread.
  7. Do not use blow torches to unfreeze lines! 
  8. Open the cabinets near where the water comes into the kitchen.
  9. Know where the water comes into your home and how to shut it off. If pipe(s) burst, turn off your water as quickly as possible. 
  10. Keep your home's thermostat at the lowest possible level for your comfort to conserve energy. Wear sweaters and extra clothing. Use UL Lab-approved space heaters, if necessary. 
National Weather Service


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