Bad Moon Rising
The popular song used in the title of this weekís column recorded by Credence Clearwater Revival is particularly important to everyone living close by this weekend. The National Weather Service has issued several warnings concerning the storm moving into our area today and has used at least two phrases Iíve not seen in the 23 years Iíve lived here. When they talk about life-threatening conditions with wind gusts up to 80 mph, itís time to take them seriously.
Winds of 80 mph are 5 miles higher than the lowest category of hurricane winds and weíve all seen what even Category One hurricanes have done to those in the path of them. It is likely that tree damage and downed power lines will occur and, if they do, we could be without power for a while. So itís important that you have enough food, water, clothing and hopefully a portable generator to see you through the times of power outages.
In addition to the winds, heavy snow is also expected to fall in our area with 2 to 4 inches common with localized amounts of up to 7 inches. This warning takes in most of Nebraska and much of northern Kansas and eastern Colorado. The life-threatening warning was issued yesterday for anyone foolish enough to drive in these conditions. White-outs will be common with visibilities reduced to near zero at times on I-70 and arterial roads to the north. If you have an accident or your car becomes disabled, it is unlikely that a rescue will happen any time soon and if you go out on your own, itís not uncommon for people to become disoriented in the blinding, wind-driven snow and die from exposure, sometimes within just a few feet of their car. If you choose to venture out anyway during the blizzard and you become immobilized in your vehicle, a winter survival kit is crucial to have along with staying in your vehicle until help arrives. There are very few things worthy of putting your life and the lives of others on the line by venturing out until this storm passes.
The Blizzard warning is in effect from 1 pm Central this afternoon (Friday) through 7 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday). That means 30 consecutive hours of possible blizzard conditions for the area and if that comes to pass, conditions will be dire. If there are things you need to survive the storm, they need to be gotten now because once the blizzard begins, it wonít be safe to venture out.
Of course, weíve had lots of snow in this part of the country often. In fact, we ended April last year with an 18-inch snowfall on the day before May Day so itís not the snow that poses a threat, itís the snow AND the wind. The National Weather Service cites impacts from the storm as property damage and extremely dangerous travel conditions becoming difficult or impossible across the entire area during the storm. The winds are described as ďdamagingĒ on both Friday and Saturday and, as previously mentioned, could result in downed power lines and loss of power.
The NWS forecasts have gotten much more reliable in the two-plus decades Iíve lived here and weíve gone from events not happening at all to them happening exactly as forecast. Thereís always a chance that the system could move 50 miles north or south and impact us very little but because this forecast was issued so close to the beginning of the storm, itís likely we will experience much of what the forecast is calling for.
I know politically and socially a lot of people disagree with my perspectives and me with theirs but this column isnít about politics or social behavior, itís about potential life and death situations and itís being written to caution all of you about the potential consequences of this dangerous storm that will arrive in our area sometime this afternoon.
Take precautions and be safe and smart!