Please read this. Make sure family and friends are aware if you live east of the Rockies. The pending cold wave may be more disastrous than a hurricane. 

Three years ago, in February, 2021, this blog published the following warning:
Tragically, the cold wave was as bad as forecast and between 200 and 700 people perished. An Austin friend of mine told me about a family down the street that burned down their home in a desperate attempt to stay warm after the electricity was out for two days (they had electrical heat). 

This Cold Wave May Be Worse Than 2021's
Below is the current 6-10 day outlook.
"Below normal" doesn't quite convey how cold it may be. I'll provide specific temperatures below.And, what could make this worse, is that the Central United States is more dependent on wind power than it was three years ago. The utter failure of wind power in Texas (dropped to 1% of capacity at one point) was one of the primary reasons for the catastrophic loss of electricity. 

I explain the meteorology below. In case you want to skip it and learn how to prepare, here you go:
  • Don't depend on anyone else for your family's safety. FEMA's response to the Texas cold wave of 2021 was a horrible joke. Local police and fire in Texas were overwhelmed. If you have vulnerable friends or family, have them stay with you.
  • If you have a generator, fill it with fuel. Now.
  • Make sure you have one week's worth of food, water, medicine and other essentials.
  • Disconnect hoses. They are a leading cause of burst pipes. When the cold air arrives, keep at least a trickle of water running 24/7. Open cabinets at night the reveal pipe runs. Put fans on them. Make sure you know the location of the water cut-off. If a pipe bursts, you will need to use it. 
  • Fill your autos with fuel.
  • Get cash from the bank or ATM. Credit card readers will not work and power may be interrupted over large geographic areas.
The Weather and Its Timing
At 6am Thursday, the elements of this potential disaster are in place.
The low in Colorado will drop more snow on the central U.S. Behind the low, the Arctic air mass will sweep south. 

New snow, now until 6pm Friday.

Here is a wide view of the leading edge of the cold air as of 6pm Friday.
Temperatures in northwest Montana are colder than -20°F (I am presenting temperatures, not wind chills). 

Forecast temperatures for 6am Sunday. Temperatures will be below zero as far southeast as Wichita and the Quad Cities. 

As the cold air flows south, Wichita, Kansas City and Milwaukee will not get above zero the entire day!
6pm Sunday temperatures

At 6am Monday, temperatures will be well below zero in Oklahoma City, St. Louis and Indianapolis. 
On Monday, St. Louis, Chicago and Indy will stay below zero the entire day.

Finally, on Tuesday morning, temperatures will drop below zero in Nashville, Huntsville, and -- if this forecast is correct -- Columbus will see a low of -15°F. 

Here's the problem: As the cold air settles in, wind speeds will drop. By Tuesday morning, winds will be too light to turn wind turbine blades over a vast part of the nation (below).
While I am hoping officials have learned lessons from the Valentine's Weekend Texas Cold Wave of 2021, the fact is we are more dependent on wind now than we were then. Blackouts and brownouts are possible. 

I hope I am wrong about this, but consider: if you purchase groceries early, fill your tank with fuel, and get cash at the ATM -- you will eventually use those items anyway. So, you have very little to lose by preparing. 

Copyright 2024  Mike Smith Enterprises, LLC


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