Sunday, December 18, 2022

Winter Storm Outlook: Thursday and Friday

It is vital that people living, or planning to travel into, the areas outlined below pay attention to the forecasts as they evolve the next two days. This is the type of situation where people can die or suffer serious injury (frostbite, hypothermia) if you get caught.

What I am trying to convey is the areas at risk of the stated conditions. It is likely these areas are too large. I will narrow them, if possible, as we get closer to the event. 

Snow Outlook Valid 6am Wednesday to 10am Thursday

Snow Outlook Valid from 6am Thursday to 10am Friday
To give you an idea of just how severe this could be: Wichita as an example: the low temperature on Friday is forecasted: -8°F, wind chill -35°F, peak gust 49 mph, snow accumulation 5 inches to 12 inches. If you get stuck in a snow drift or ditch, you could freeze to death! Power will be out in some areas; first responders will be overtaxed.

Below is a map of temperatures (not wind chill) for 6am Friday.
Whatever you do, do not try to travel though these areas. Make alternate plans! Leave early or delay your departure. 

I just checked United Airlines' web site and they haven't yet figured out why it is necessary to allow their customers to change their plans. They likely will figure it out tomorrow and allow waivers so you can more easily change your plans. The others will probably post waivers at the same time. 
I will continue to update on this storm. If I am wrong and the storm and cold wave are not as bad as I believe, the worst that will happen is you may spend some extra money, perhaps burn an extra day of vacation, but you will safely arrive and enjoy an extra day at your destination. 

I would be happy to be wrong about this storm but I do not believe I am incorrect. 

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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