Winter Storm Update Jan. 29 9:30 A.M. EST
Thirty-six governors have officially declared a State of Emergency due to two things: an arctic blast slamming the Midwest down through Gulf states up the east coast, and America’s addiction to fossil fuels. Millions are stranded at home without heat.
With no end in sight until warmer weather arrives in the mid-west, President Barack Obama has been called on to “act” in today’s crisis that has left millions of Americans cold Wednesday.
Thousands of southerners awakened to no heat after a brutal winter storm began slamming the Deep South yesterday. Frozen tree branches fell on power lines. Hundreds of thousands were stranded on highways.
The storm has left at least seven people dead in the Gulf region alone. Gulf coast officials warn that tonight will be as tough on residents. They continue telling peope to stay off the roads.
Meanwhile, many Americans are bundled at home with no heat.
“LAWD NOW WE IN A POWER OUTAGE WITH ALL THIS DANG SNOW LORD PLEASE ITS COLD,” tweeted
Ar ShiNeQue @ShineQ4U at
8:10 A.M., this morning.
Georgia remains worst hit. Governor Nathan Deal failed to declare a state of emergency until hundreds of thousands people were in harm’s way, including children stuck at school and on buses without provisions.
Hundreds of maintenace crews and National Guardsmen are frantically working to rapidly restore power this morning before the south takes another cold blow tonight.
“We may go above freezing for a few hours this afternoon in some of these locations, but we go right back down tonight,” said Tom Niziol with The Weather Channel this morning. “Things are going to freeze right back up and it’s going to be another day before we can open up these roadways in many of the metro locations in the Southeast.”
Atlanta took the hardest blow Tuesday, causing what some are calling an apocalyptic scene. Businesses and schools closed early Tuesday, sending hundreds of thousands of people onto slick snowy roads at the same time. On crowded roads, people ran out of gas and were forced to ditch their cars. Thousands had not made it home at 10:00 last night.
Students across Georgia were stranded waiting for buses or on buses. Many spent the night at schools last night. Several buses attempted to get students home. They were, however, forced to return to schools as road conditions worsened, according to ajc.com. Schools districts across the state will be closed Wednesday.
Gov. Nathan Deal failed to declare a state of emergency until Tuesday night. The National Guard sent military Humvees onto the city’s snarled freeway system to attempt moving stranded school buses and get food and water to students on them.
Deal said early this morning that DOT crews will continue working today to clear gridlocked highways, but drivers are being told that when they get home, “stay there.”
The weather struck a gentler blow to south Louisiana than expected Tuesday. There are still isolated power outages across our service territory, but there were thousands more, only for several minutes.
“Entergy crews responded to scattered outages throughout Tuesday, restoring power to the majority of customers within a couple of hours.”
New Orleans is advising that while initial stages of the winter storm didn’t cause significant damage, the storm system is still passing across South Louisiana.
In New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish, 8,000 customers were without power but Entergy Corp. spokeswoman Charlotte Cavell said a crew fixed that within five minutes.
“Crews will remain on alert as the winter weather system continues to move through the region.”
“Just a rule of thumb, if it’s south of I-20, it’s probably frozen,” said Willie Huff of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
All the way up the Virginia coast, school districts are closed today.
Officials in many cities are pleading that all non-emergency vehicles stay off the roads.
Midwest propane non-renewable energy crisis leaves millions cold
The midwest is struggling to stay warm without propane.
“Prices in some midwest locations have now exceeded $5 per gallon. Such prices are unsustainable for families, farmers and businesses,” wrote Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in a letter to President Obama.
Sub-zero temperatures and strong winds are again sweeping the midwest this week with -55 predicted in the next blast to blanket the midwest this weekend.
This is the same region just hit hard with Winter Storms Hercules and Ian during Christmas and New Year holidays.
“The health and safety of our citizens is our number one priority, and this declaration gives us the necessary resources to protect the residents of Wisconsin,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said in a statement. “I will do everything I can within my power to help our friends and loved ones relying on propane to heat their homes or businesses during this challenging situation.”
Wisconsin joined states across the country including Ohio, Maine, Michigan and Minnesota in declaring emergencies.
Under a State of Emergency, states can relax transportation rules on the number of hours truck drivers can work, among other measures.
Pennsylvania-based AmeriGas, the largest US propane retailer, said last week it was rationing deliveries in parts of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee to 100 gallons per customer from the standard delivery of some 250 gallons.
As temperatures hit record lows this year, a series of events put extra strain on the propane supply system. A record corn crop that arrived late and in a rainy period led farmers to use more than four times the propane they used in 2012 to dry their corn. The 1,900-mile-long Cochin pipeline, which carries natural gas liquids to much of the midwest, was shut for maintenance from late November to 20 December. Flynn said customers started calling for more supplies, straining deliveries at a time when transport was becoming increasingly fraught. (The Gaurdian)
“We exposed all the weaknesses in the system.” Energy market analyst Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group said, adding no end is in sight until warmer weather arrives.
Renewable energy proponents say this is a clarion call involving Americans’ health and security.