Thousands of US Flights Cancelled

Angry passenger in New York gets put in his place.

By 8 a.m. (CST) Monday, April 4, 2022, 2,134 airline flights were cancelled across, into and outbound the United States.

This followed carriers canceling more than 3,500 U.S. flights over the weekend due to employee absenteeism, storms in Florida and technology issues.

Close to 2,000 flights within, into, or out of the U.S. were canceled Saturday and a further 1,659 Sunday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

By morning, Monday, 4,314 flights were delayed.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.
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Goettl HVAC and Plumbing services are located in Phoenix, Tucson, San Antonio, Austin, Las Vegas areas as well as regions in Southern California.

Flagstaff, Arizona Through Dust Storm to Meteor Crater

Sedona, Arizona, was extremely busy and has grown since my last visit in 2016. Always beautiful, we stopped briefly to live in the moment of this enchanting destination, but elected to move on. That took a while as we endured the traffic jams.

I will seriously think twice about going through again and thought it sad that one of my favorite places ever has become far too popular.

It was melancholic realizing future generations will never experience the magic many of us did.

Commercialized and extensively developed, Sedona is well on her way to a busy future.

Flagstaff, Arizona

We drove on north to the mountain town of Flagstaff, a truly charming place to stop for a while. We spent the night on May 20th. Dodie’s favorite hotel there is Little America, but we didn’t make reservations this time.

We will be back, perhaps this fall, in our camping van to explore the historic downtown area, where various art galleries, enticing boutiques, Native American shops, outdoor outfitters, eateries, and microbreweries dwell amid the 19th-century streets.

Dodie’s son, Jackson, graduated from Northern Arizona University there, so she is familar with university’s museum, the intriguing Lowell Observatory, and the turn-of-the-20th-century Riordan Mansion State Historic Park.

There are three national monuments located within 7.5 to 33 miles of Flagstaff: Walnut Canyon National Monument, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and Wupatki National Monument. We’ll be back.

Meteor Crater

Almost 50,000 years ago a giant fireball streaked across the North American sky from east to west before it struck the Earth with a force 150 times bigger than the atomic bomb.

The last time I visited Meteor Crater was in June 1979. My, it is a far better experience seeing and learning from it as a man in my 60s (vs 20s).

We discovered, through their museum, two quick movies and visitor center, that the impact “generated immensely powerful shock waves in the meteorite, the rock and the surrounding atmosphere. In the air, shock waves swept across the level plain devastating all in their path for a radius of several miles. In the ground, as the meteorite penetrated the rocky plain, pressures rose to over 20 million pounds per square inch, and both iron and rock experienced limited vaporization and extensive melting. Beyond the melted region, an enormous volume of rock underwent complete fragmentation and ejection.”

Dodie sought protection and stability from the high winds within the Meteor Crater complex.

“The result of these violent conditions was the excavation of a giant bowl-shaped cavity. In seconds, a crater 700 feet deep, over 4,000 feet across, and 2.4 miles in circumference was carved into this once-flat rocky plain. During its formation, over 175 million tons of limestone and sandstone were abruptly thrown out to form a continuous blanket of debris surrounding the crater for a distance of over a mile.”

Before we drove east on IH-40 (old Route 66) to visit the Crater, we ate breakfast at IHOP. As I walked out the front door, I heard a loud crack-pop burst. I thought it was lightning.

The winds were so hard it popped the top third of a 40 foot Juniper tree in two. We were parked less than 30 feet from it.

Highway warning signs advised of hard winds and dark dust storms ahead. The five mile drive from the highway to the Crater Visitor Center was surreal as if we were on Mars. I could barely stay on the two lane road with red dirt and heavy gusts fighting me all the way.

When Dodie took Mr. Beefy to the visitor center’s dog kennel, I went to purchase tickets. Again, I heard a loud crash and whirling noise as I was about to enter. I held the door open for a man who was exiting and he yelled, “Oh my God!”

He saw the front windshield blow out of his truck and watched it fly over 400 feet away–luckily, away from the parking area into an empty pasture.

Roland, an employee, told us the reported winds were 45-55 mph with gusts into the 90s. Before we proceeded into the museum, a young couple drove up and the front grill and bumper blew off their car. Roland remained busy filling out incident reports that afternoon.

For us, it was a long day on Route 66.

2021 Weather Forecasts for Hurricanes and Tornadoes

Warm water is a key indicator for tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic Ocean, and with forecasted temperatures to be continually rising throughout the 2021 summer, it will translate to more fuel for tropical storms and hurricanes that inevitably develop.

“Our biggest concern is the fact that water temperatures across the Atlantic are already warmer than normal over a larger part of the basin,” said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, who has been forecasting the tropics for 45 years.

Click for Safety & Preparation Tips

2021 is expected to be an above-normal season for tropical activity in the Atlantic. A normal season is considered to have 14 storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Last year, 13 hurricanes formed, and six of those reached the major hurricane threshold.

In terms of the number of storms that will directly impact the mainland U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, three to five are expected, according to Kottlowski’s team. The annual average number of direct impacts is 3.5.

Paul Pastelok, who leads AccuWeather’s team of long-range forecasters, thinks overall impacts from tropical systems in 2021 is expected to be a bit lower than the past few years, but it is not zero.

“We do feel there could be a named storm in June, but the way the pattern is setting up in June in the eastern U.S.,” Paul Pastelok, who leads AccuWeather’s team of long-range forecasters, thinks anything that might develop “may be forced away from the coast or head well down to the south towards Mexico or South Texas.”

The other zone where there is an elevated threat for a tropical strike stretches from the Atlantic coast of Florida through the Carolinas.

This does not necessarily mean that the central Gulf Coast (Louisiana had two terrible strikes in 2020) will be completely safe from tropical systems. However, forecasters believe the overall chance of a landfalling tropical storm or hurricane will be lower than it was in 2020.

They are predicting 16 to 20 named storms, 7 to 10 hurricanes and three to five direct hits on the U.S. A typical season features 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three or four U.S. landfalls.

As residents who live along stretches of the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard will need to prepare for potential impacts from tropical systems, those across the north-central U.S. should brace for an uptick in severe weather events.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) reported 253 tornadoes in 2021 as of April 23, below the average of around 400 for late April. However, AccuWeather forecasters believe that a big uptick in tornado activity will occur in May and June.

AccuWeather is predicting between 1,300 and 1,400 twisters by the end of 2021. This is slightly higher than the number of tornadoes in 2020 and right around the average of 1,383, according to SPC data.

Power Outage Tips

Tis the season for more storms and power outages. When the big snow and ice storm of February 2021 hit, we were prepared. For 20 years I was over Facilities Management at H-E-B Food-Drugs stores, offices and their properties throughout Texas and Mexico. Here are some quick tips I learned along the way that can help families stay safe.

Before an outage, create an easily accessible emergency kit with these items:

  • flashlights
  • one gallon of water per person
  • hand-crank radio
  • tool box
  • batteries
  • blankets
  • cash
  • first-aid supplies
  • manual can opener
  • nonperishable food items like granola bars, jerky and trail mix

Install appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. Doing this will help you tell if your food gets warmer than 40 degrees F—the danger zone for food-borne illness.

Keep the fridge and freezer full to keep everything cold longer. Tuck extra bags and bottles of water into the fridge and freezer to maximize the cold. If you anticipate an outage or receive notice of a planned one, think ahead and set your refrigerator temperature to the coldest setting.



During an outage

It’s a good idea to report your outage first. Then, turn off all appliances and lights that were on when service was disrupted, leaving a lamp on so you’ll know when power is restored.

Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. Unopened, a refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours without power, and a freezer will keep food cold for about 48 hours without power.

Turn off the circuit breakers to major appliances. When power is restored, this prevents overloads.



Avoid burning candles as this creates a fire hazard. Stick to flashlights. Even headlamps work, especially for the kids!

Once power is restored, avoid overloading your circuits by turning appliances back on in 15-minute intervals.

We encourage you to be prepared before an outage happens. Create your emergency kit and practice what to do during an outage with your family. Be prepared and stay safe.

10 ‘Enlightening’ Facts You Likely Forgot


Lightning can happen at any time – during snow storms, in hurricane rain bands, in dust storms and forest fires, they are even found in volcanic eruption clouds. We need to think of lightning safety anytime there is a severe thunderstorm in our area.

In the USA, there are several states where you are more likely to run into trouble. Florida leads the list, with double the casualties of the others: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado and Texas. Each year, almost 24,000 people are killed by lightning strikes around the world and it is the fourth weather killer here at home. Even if you do not live in the 10 states above, you are still at risk.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there are three main ways lightning enters structures: through a direct strike, through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and through the ground.

10 Lightning Safety Facts Mom Probably Told You

Fact #1 – Lightning has its own agenda.

According to protocols for the US Army, standing outside during a lightning storm puts you at risk for a strike.  If you must be outside during a storm you should NOT:

  • Remain in an open area
  • Remain near metal fences
  • Be near railroad tracks
  • Remain in tents

Fact  #2 –  Lightning does strike in the same place twice.

It hits the Empire State Building about 25 times a year. Some people are extremely susceptible and everyone should practice lightning safety measures – just ask Roy Cleveland Sullivan (February 7, 1912 – September 28, 1983) who was a U.S. park ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

Sullivan

Between 1942 and 1977, Sullivan was hit by lightning on seven different occasions during his 35 year career and survived all of them, although he lost the nail on one of his big toes, and suffered multiple injuries to the rest of his body.

Fact #3 – It is dangerous to seek shelter under a tree during a lightning storm.

Your mom was right, trees are frequent conductors of lightning to the ground. Lightning prefers to strike tall, pointed objects. When the strike occurs, the bolt will usually follow the shortest, most conductible path to the earth’s surface. Therefore objects that stick out above everything else are more likely to be struck.

Taking shelter under trees is dangerous – recent studies of lightning victims showed several highly-vulnerable situations and activities, but the one that stood out was taking shelter under trees.

Fact #4 – You should stay in your car during a storm, but not because the rubber tires will save you.

Lightning has traveled through space…a few inches of rubber mean nothing at all. You should stay in your car because it acts like a Faraday cage. The metal in the car will shield you from any external electric fields and prevent the lightning from traveling inside it. If you are in a vehicle during a lightning storm, close your car windows and ride it out.

Fact #5 – You can be struck by lightning even if you can’t hear the thunder.

Lightning strikes can occur on a day when you cannot see storm clouds near you. This is known as “A Bolt from the Blue.”  Lightning can travel up to 10 miles but our ears can hear thunder claps from only 6-8 miles away.  To be safe, wait at least 30 minutes before resuming activities after a thunder storm.

Fact #6 – You should not talk on a hard wired telephone during a thunder and lightning storm.

According to Ronald L. Holle, a weather consultant and former meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory, “Corded phones are extremely dangerous during a storm. Home phone lines are protected with surge devices, but these defenses can be overwhelmed should lightning hit a nearby power pole. Someone dies every few years while talking on a phone during a lightning strike.”

Your cordless phone and mobile phones are safe to use during a thunderstorm. You can safely use remote controls, but do not touch electrical equipment such as computers, TVs or cords.

Fact #7 – You should unplug your computer and other electronic devices before a storm arrives.

It’s a good idea to protect electronic equipment — stereos, TVs, computers, etc. — with surge protectors. Good-quality ones typically cost between $50 and $100. Like the surge protection built into houses, however, they don’t offer 100% protection. Unplugging devices before a storm is your best approach.

Fun Fact #8 – It’s true! Counting between the lightning and thunder clap will tell you how far away the storm is and if it is moving toward or away from you.

Lightning’s distance from you is easy to calculate: if you hear thunder, it and the associated lightning are within range…about 6-8 miles away. The distance from Strike A to Strike B also can be 6-8 miles. Start counting… one one thousand…two two thousand…

Ask yourself why you should NOT go to shelter immediately. A lightning strike at a very close distance will be accompanied by a sudden clap of thunder, with almost no time lapse, and the smell of ozone.

Fact #9 – A lightning victim is not electrified. If you touch them, you will not be electrocuted.

While the human body does not store electricity, it is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!

Call 9-1-1 and if the person has stopped breathing begin CPR immediately. Use an Automatic External Defibrillator if one is available. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for information on CPR and first aid classes.

Fact #10 – In lightning’s electrical field 

If you are caught outside in a field during a thunder and lightning storm, if you feel your hair standing on end, and/or hear “crackling noises” – you are in lightning’s electric field. If you cannot get to shelter you should  follow these steps: 

  • Immediately remove metal objects from your pockets, and remove jewelry. This includes baseball caps.
  • Place your feet together with hands on ears to minimize acoustic shock from thunder.
  • Duck your head.
  • Crouch down low in baseball catcher’s stance with hands on knees, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet, with your head between or over your knees.
  • Never lie flat on the ground

Lightning and Thunderstorm Preparation and Safety

Lightning is a leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Avg. # of days per year of thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are dangerous storms that include lightning and can:

IF YOU ARE UNDER A THUNDERSTORM WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • When thunder roars, go indoors!
  • Move from outdoors into a building or car.
  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings.
  • Unplug appliances.
  • Do not use landline phones.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A THUNDERSTORM THREATENS

Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.
  • Create an emergency plan so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from the effects of a thunderstorm.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
  • Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
  • Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.

Survive DURING

  • When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
  • When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
  • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
  • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
  • If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
  • If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Golf course green hit by lightning

Be Safe AFTER

  • Listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside and instructions regarding potential flash flooding.
  • Watch for fallen power lines and trees. Report them immediately.
  • If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

Safety, Preparation, How To’s For Emergencies, Weather, Prepping and Survival

Here is our suite of informative articles to keep you safe and prepared. We’ll add more as seasons and situations change.

Winter, Snow, Ice and Storms Road Safety Basics

Protecting Property From Freezing Weather

How to Prepare for Power Outages and No Electricity

Bug Out Bag List

Civil Riots and Protests Near You

Severe Weather Camping Tips

Bandanas as a Safety and Survival Tool

Lightning and thunderstorms are a leading cause of injury or death in weather related hazards.

April begins peak season for power outages, but we should be prepared anytime. Here are some worthwhile tips you’ll be glad to know.

No Power in Freeze Angers Even the Indoctrinated Citizens to Question San Antonio Mayor’s Socialist Agenda

Within weeks of becoming mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Ron Nirenberg proved he was no better than other socialistic leaders in America’s most dangerous and liberal controlled cities.

Nirenberg

Nirenberg’s first big act was to buy $17,000 curtains for his City Hall office.

His second act was to adopt the Paris Accords. He was returning the favor to George Soros and the Chinese Communist Party (via Pelosi and the Democratic Party) for there financial support to his campaign.

China will not to have to pay into the treaty until 2030 (if they even decide then if they will at all), while the United States, under Biden will pay 25% of the funds of countries participating.

With President Donald J. Trump, America was enjoying the cleanest air in most of our lifetimes. China? The worst in history.

When the China Virus hit the U.S. Nirenberg and cohart Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolfe were among the second group of leaders attempting to emulate their heroes in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle with lockdowns, mandates and other job and business killers. Heck, more recently, they’ve stooped so low that they are trying to copy Austin.

Wolff

The recent single digit temperatures and rolling electrical blackouts have angered so many citizens, even some of Nirenberg’s base are questioning his motives.

“He’s had years to do something good and deliver on his promises but he showed us he is only in it for his own good and for his political friends,” said Jaime Cortez, from San Antonio’s near South Side. “His political machine is rusting. We will not vote for him again.”

One commentary floating around the city calls him “small thinking ron” because he has a known pattern of deflecting the blame of the problems he causes on others.

In regard to the power outages, citizens of all political persuasions say he owns the energy outages disaster.

“Mayor Ron Nirenberg said he would oppose building more natural gas and coal plants.”

Taking his cue from the liberal playbook of Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nirenberg told local media, “There are alternatives to us for large-scale generation.”

“San Antonio municipal utility CPS Energy wants to replace aging fossil-fueled generation with more gigawatt of solar, energy storage and flexible capacity, and it’s asking for ideas on how to get there,” Nirenberg said.

The Deely Power Plant, south of San Antonio, could keep the lights and heaters running in 168,000 homes on a record cold day.

The US Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that power plants such as Deely did not have to prematurely close. On December 31, 2018, made Pelosi and AOC especially proud as “small thinking ron” Nirenberg shut the Deely Plant down.

Power grids used to be built for worse case scenarios, not the best.

Power grids for many years were designed and constructed for reliability and cost. AOC, Harris, Pelosi and Nirenberg don’t care about energy reliability. He cared about finding his campaign and keeping his political operatives happy.

Customers aren’t having much luck with energy outages, but there is plenty of propaganda about COVID in the CPS Energy website.

Meanwhile, CPS Energy has spent more time the past year informing their customers about Nirenberg-Wolff’s COVID updates than energy plans.

A serious warning San Antonio–you get what you vote far. Next time, stay warm and safe.

Smart Ways to Survive and Prepare For Power Outages and No Electricity

Let’s cut to the chase. These are the basics:

Water

Your family needs at least one gallon of water per person, per day, to function during an emergency. You’ll also need extra water for pets, cooking, and hygiene. If you’re preparing for a two-week emergency, that comes to 56-112 gallons or more of water. Many people don’t have the space to store that much water, and at $1 per gallon, on average, that’s a big investment.

It’s smart to have a least a week’s worth of water on hand. Some people fill up sinks and bath tubs. However, you can look at other ways to get water during an emergency. For example, is there a lake, river, or stream nearby that you could use as a water source? Could you collect rain from the roof? You might also want to look at ways to purify water during an emergency, especially if you’ll be sourcing it from nature. Water purification tablets, bleach, and heat are all economical ways to purify water.

Food

If the power goes out for an extended period of time, store shelves will be emptied within hours and they might not be restocked for a while. Remember the toilet paper and food shortages of 2020?

This is why having a long-term food pantry is so important. If you already have plenty of food tucked away, you can avoid some of the inevitable stress that accompanies a power outage. Focus on storing shelf-stable food that your family already eats. Some good options include:

Prepare Food Long Term Outage
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
  • Powdered milk
  • Pasta
  • Canned vegetables, especially canned beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Beef or chicken bouillon
  • Cereal
  • Dried fruit
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit juice
  • Instant coffee and tea
  • Comfort foods, such as cookies and chocolate
  • Manual can opener

You can find a full list of foods that work well for an emergency food supply at Ready.gov.

When stocking up, pay careful attention to expiration dates. Often, discount grocery stores will stock and sell food that is about to expire. We tend to buy extras at our regular grocery shopping trips when there are sales and coupons going on.

Refrigerator and Freezer: What Is Safe?


When the power goes out, your refrigerator and freezer will only stay cold for so long. According to the American Red Cross, an unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for four hours. After this, temperatures will begin to rise to unsafe levels. A full, unopened freezer will keep food frozen for 48 hours; a half-full freezer will stay frozen for 24 hours.

During an outage, it’s helpful to have a food thermometer on hand. You can use it to see which foods are safe to eat by checking the temperature of the refrigerator. Throw out any food that has been exposed to 40-degree temperatures for two hours or more.

You can extend the cooling life of your refrigerator by preparing beforehand. Keep one or two gallons of water in the freezer; not only will this make your freezer more efficient when the power is on, but when it goes off, you can transfer these frozen jugs to the refrigerator to keep food cold longer.

If you have a large cooler, you can cool foods even more efficiently by transferring them to the cooler. Use ice or your frozen water jugs to keep the food cold.

Cooking

Once you have an emergency food supply put away, consider how you’re going to cook when you don’t have power. It’s smart to have a balance between food that’s ready to eat and food that needs to be cooked. Hot meals can do wonders to raise spirits during an emergency, but it’s going to be more difficult to heat and cook food, not to mention procure safe water for cooking and washing.

If your home has a fireplace, fire pit, or wood stove, you already have an easy way to cook hot meals for your family. Make sure you keep an emergency supply of firewood and kindling on hand so that you can quickly light a fire if the lights go out. Store as much as you can so you’re prepared for a long-term outage.

We know people from the RV and camping communities that use small propane stoves or solar ovens. They are easy to tuck into a closet for emergency food preparation. Of course, with propane you will need to stock up on fuel as well. If you have a larger gas or charcoal grill, make sure you have an extra container of propane or several bags of charcoal put away for emergency situations.

Consider Safe Cooking

Heating

If a long-term power outage occurs in the winter, you’re going to need supplies to stay warm. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace or wood stove then you’re a step ahead, as long as you have plenty of firewood on hand. A portable kerosene heater is another option.

If possible, try to have a sleeping bag for every member of your family. Sleeping bags, especially those rated at 20 degrees or colder, are incredibly effective at trapping body heat.

Smaller children can sleep with adults to stay warm.

Space blankets were designed by NASA, and they help retain almost all of your body heat. They are inexpensive enough to keep some in your car for emergencies that occur when you’re away from home.

Make sure you have a warm wool or fleece hat for everyone in your family and enough blankets to make a bed for everyone on the floor (which will help keep everyone warm). You’ll also stay warm with hand and feet warmers. These are best purchased during warmer months when they are often on sale.

Health and Wellness

A long-term power outage means you likely won’t have access to the medicines you and your family might need to stay healthy. One way to prepare for this, and cut costs, is to learn to rely on vitamins and natural remedies to keep your family healthy.

Dodie, a retired nurse, keeps us on a regimen of supplements and vitamins to keep our immunities and health intact.

If possible, have extra medications on hand for a long-term outage. Many insurance companies only cover medications on a month-to-month basis, so for prescription medications, this might be difficult to do. You also need a comprehensive first aid kit.

Sanitation

City sewer systems depend on electricity to function. While most have backup generators, those generators are dependent on fuel, which, in a long-term outage, might run out within a few days. This is why you need to have a plan in place to address your family’s sanitation needs.

The average person produces one ounce of feces for every 12 pounds of body weight, which means a 160-pound person will produce around one pound of feces daily. If you do the math for everyone in your family, you can see how quickly sanitation can become a serious issue. Not only is it completely dispiriting to have no way to dispose of waste, it is also a serious health hazard. The good news is that with a little preparedness, you can efficiently and safely deal with waste.

Septic Systems
If you’re on a septic system, you’ll still be able to flush your toilet if you have water to put in the tank. Simply pour water into the toilet tank until it touches the float and then flush. Or, you can pour water quickly and forcefully into the bowl itself, which causes the water to siphon and flush on its own.

However, if your area has experienced a great deal of rain or flooding, it’s not a good idea to use your septic system. If the water table is too high, your septic will not work and waste will quickly spill out into your yard, causing a serious health hazard. If you have a yard, you can also dispose of waste by digging holes in the ground that are six to eight inches deep. Make sure each hole is at least 200 feet from any water source, and try to dig holes in sunny spots; the sun will aid decomposition.

Municipal Systems
If you’re on a municipal system, the toilets will not work if the main sewer is out of power. If you’re sure the main sewer system is down, do not flush your toilet. Everyone in your neighborhood will be flushing, and without power to keep this waste moving, the lines will quickly become blocked and start to back up into people’s homes. Instead, you’ll need to rely on a temporary toilet.

Make a Temporary Toilet
To make a temporary toilet, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • At least two five-gallon buckets with lids
  • Several boxes of heavy-duty black garbage bags; the best are contractor garbage bags, sold at most home improvement stores
  • Duct tape
  • Wood ash, kitty litter, sawdust, quicklime, or portable toilet chemical decomposers (like the kind used in RVs)
  • Twist ties
  • Several gallons of household bleach
  • Several boxes of rubber gloves

The easiest way to make a temporary toilet is to use your existing toilet. Take as much water out of the bowl as possible and then line the bowl with two heavy-duty black garbage bags. Tape the garbage bags to the bowl, under the seat.

After each use, pour in a cup of your disinfectant (the wood ash, kitty litter, etc.) and then spray with bleach. When the bag is half- to two-thirds full, spray again with bleach and remove it, making sure to wear rubber gloves. Seal the bag, put the waste in the five-gallon bucket, and put on the lid. You can then dispose of the waste when services are restored or you’re able to find an appropriate site. If you have the space, you can also consider buying a portable toilet.

Bathing and Cleaning

Bathing is going to be another issue when the water stops flowing. While we don’t need to shower every day, we do need to keep clean. This goes for our homes as well: Keeping plates and cooking equipment clean lowers the spread of germs, disease, and illness. This is why it’s important to have the following supplies on hand:

Bathing Cleaning Supplies
  • Baby wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Dry shampoo
  • Disposable utensils
  • Disinfectant cleanser, such as bleach or Lysol
  • Paper towels
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers

Stock up on these items as they go on sale, or use coupons to save.

Lighting and Communication

You also need to look at how you’re going to illuminate your home when the lights go out. Candles are an inexpensive choice, but keep in mind that they can be dangerous, especially if you have children in the house. Some better lighting options include:

  • Flashlights
  • Headlamps
  • LED or solar-powered lanterns

If you have outdoor solar lights in your yard, remember that you can move these indoors at night to light up hallways or bathrooms. Just remember to put them back outside to recharge during the day.

Solar Powered Lanterns

We have a hand-crank or solar-powered radio to get news, provided local stations are able to broadcast.

Over 30 Ways to Use Bandanas In Emergencies

In our bug out bags, we keep assorted bandanas among our emergency gear. One of my favorites is this mammoth one:

Other uses for bandanas include:

  1. Use as a hat or scarf.
  2. Make a protective mask with one of them.
  3. Cold compress (wet one or add ice if available).
  4. Make a splint with a paint stick.
  5. Eye patches.
  6. Make some handcuffs (yes we may need them if we do not have zip ties to protect ourselves).
  7. Patch clothes that have a hole.
  8. Toilet paper if nothing else is available.
  9. Great for straining water or food items.
  10. Cover your eyes to sleep.
  11. Wash your dishes with one.
  12. Dry your dishes with one.
  13. You could gag someone with one if they become hysterical after a disaster (that sounds mean but it may come to this).
  14. Use one to work out with, they make a great sweatband.
  15. For flagging (especially bright red, yellow or orange) alerts, warnings and emergencies.
  16. Use them for a napkin or a plate to hold snacks.
  17. If you do not have anything to start a fire, cut or tear them into strips to make a fire starter (store matches).
  18. Choose one color for your family and wear them on your wrist or neck, depending on the ages involved after a disaster, amusement park, or on a vacation as well.
  19. Tear some into strips to add to your 72-hour bug out bags to tie on branches if you go exploring in the mountains to keep track of where you are.
  20. Awesome dust masks although we prefer N-95’s.
  1. Compression wrap when needed for profuse bleeding.
  2. To camouflage your face. You may need more than one on hand, though. Plus, you can take this strategy one step further by choosing colors which will help you better blend in the environment.
  3. To tie things together. There’s no shortage of knots out there, is there? You will be surprised at how frequently a bandana will come in handy for tying things together.
  4. Use as a first stage water filter by pouring water through the bandana to filter out large debris. You still need to boil the water before drinking, but the bandana will filter out larger particles.
  5. To remove hot pots from open fire. You need something that can hold heat long enough to effectively move hot plates, pots, and other hot materials with no hassle. You may have packed surgical or work gloves but those are useless against high temperatures.
  6. To make a sling.
  7. As a weapon. Just fill with rocks, then tie into a bundle and hit your enemies hard.
  8. As a bib. Easily unfold a bandana to protect your clothing. Simply tuck a portion of the bandana inside your shirt or top if you’re eating on the go or lay it over your lap if you’re sitting down.
  9. As a coffee filter. Who won’t enjoy a cup of coffee post-collapse? Along with alcohol and tobacco, it is going to be one of the most sought-after comfort items.

Questions Answered: Texas Get Ready for More Power Outages

ERCOT’s use of Energy Emergency Alerts

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has a progressive series of emergency procedures that may be used when operating reserves drop below specified levels. These procedures are designed to protect the reliability of the electric systemas a whole and prevent an uncontrolled system-wide outage.

Per ERCOT Protocols and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) requirements, the grid operator is required to declare an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) when operating reserves drop below 2,300 MW or system frequency cannot be maintained above certain levels and durations. There are three levels of EEA, depending on the amount of operating reserves that are available to meet the electric demand on the system.

All counties frozen is a once in a lifetime phenomena.

When ERCOT issues an EEA, it is able to take advantage of additional resources that are only available during scarcity conditions. Resources include demand response that is procured specifically for these types of conditions (Emergency Response Service and other demand response from Transmission Operators); use of resources that are normally set aside to provide operating reserves (including mandatory load reduction from some industrial facilities); additional generation or imports from neighboring regions; and voluntary conservation by consumers.

If all of the EEA tools listed above are insufficient, rotating outages are required to help preserve the reliability of the systemas a whole. However, rotating outages have only been implemented three times in the history of ERCOT.


Energy Emergency Alert Levels

EEA Level 1

When operating reserves drop below 2,300 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, grid operators can call on all available power supplies, including power from other grids, if available.

EEA Level 2

When operating reserves are less than 1,750 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, ERCOT can reduce demand on the system by interrupting power from large industrial customers who have contractually agreed to have their electricity turned off during an emergency. ERCOT can also use demand response resources that have been procured to address tight operating conditions.

EEA Level 3

An EEA Level 3 is declared if operating reserves cannot be maintained above 1,375 MW. If conditions do not improve, continue to deteriorate or operating reserves drop below 1,000 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, ERCOT will order transmission companies to reduce demand on the system.


What is a rotating outage?

Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service implemented by utilities to reduce demand and preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole. Utilities are required to shed load based on their percentage of historic peak demand. Rotating outages are only used as a last resort to bring operating reserves back up to a safe level and maintain system frequency.

Rotating outages primarily affect residential neighborhoods and small businesses and are typically limited to 10 to 45 minutes before being rotated to another location. Each transmission company is responsible for determining how they will shed their portion of the load on the system.

ERCOT has initiated system-wide rotating outages three times in the history of ERCOT (Dec. 22, 1989, April 17, 2006 and Feb. 2, 2011).


What is a statewide power emergency?  

ERCOT issues a Power Emergency, or Energy Emergency Alert Level 3, when there is not enough electric generation available to keep up with consumer demand. When an EEA Level 3 is issued, ERCOT instructs utilities to begin rotating outages according to predetermined emergency curtailment procedures. When ERCOT issues such an order, the Lower Colorado River Authority(Opens in a new window) (LCRA) follows ERCOT’s instructions to reduce power consumption by instituting rolling outages within its service territory.


Why is my power off?

ERCOT has required electric providers to implement rolling outages. Your power may be off as part of that process.


How long will my power be off?

Power will be restored as soon as possible. We can’t say exactly how long this outage will last.


My power was off earlier today or yesterday in a rolling outage.

Am I safe for the next one or could it go off again? During a period of rolling outages, it’s possible your power may go off and on more than once. Please make plans accordingly.


Why was my house or business chosen to be part of the outage?  

It is random. No specific home, business or street was singled out during this process.


The power outage has caused a life-or-death emergency in my home or business. What do I do?

Call 9-1-1 immediately.


How often has ERCOT initiated system-wide rotating outages?

ERCOT has instituted system-wide rotating outages three times in the history of ERCOT (Dec. 22, 1989, April 17, 2006 and Feb. 2, 2011.)  


How can I help conserve power?  

You can help by turning off all unnecessary lights and electrical appliances and delaying laundry and other activities that consume electricity. Read other conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission of Texas. 


How can I monitor the level of Energy Emergency Alerts?

Download the ERCOT mobile app from the Apple App Store(Opens in a new window) or Google Play(Opens in a new window), or visit ERCOT.com.(Opens in a new window) Follow ERCOT on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

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Here are two quick articles to help you with these storms:

How To Prepare Your Home

Snow and Ice Storm Road Safety Basics

Mid-States From Dakotas to Texas Brace For ‘Once in a Generation’ Winter Storm

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a state of emergency across the entire state ahead of the arrival of the current winter storm, and requested a federal emergency declaration from the White House to establish additional resources for communities impacted.

“Every part of the state will face freezing conditions over the coming days, and I urge all Texans to remain vigilant against the extremely harsh weather that is coming,” said Governor Abbott. “Stay off the roads, take conscious steps to conserve energy, and avoid dangerous practices like bringing generators indoors or heating homes with ovens or stovetops.”

Accuweather map and risks.

Accuweather has deemed this a ‘Once in a generation’ storm.

“Life-threatening cold is an additional risk with this storm, and any motorists who become stranded on snowy or icy roads may find themselves in a dangerous situation,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Randy Adkins.

According to Adkins, “Temperatures in some areas may be in the single digits or even below zero for 12 hours or more, and that’s a significant concern for anyone unprepared for cold of this magnitude as hypothermia and frostbite can occur very rapidly.”

“The cold will also help to keep any ice and snow accumulations around for several days following the end of the storm.”

Here are two quick articles to help you with these storms:

How To Prepare Your Home

Snow and Ice Storm Road Safety Basics