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#298413 - 02/19/21 07:39 PM Texas after action report
TeacherRO Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2574
What worked in Texas? What went wrong? How could they have prepared better?

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#298414 - 02/19/21 09:18 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1527
I find this article informative and useful. Written by an engineer who actually knows the system --

Daniel Cohan, What So Many Of The Misleading Narratives About Texas Miss

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#298417 - 02/20/21 01:09 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
roberttheiii Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 366
Loc: Connecticut, USA
The linked article is great in terms of explaining the grid situation. In terms of what individuals could have done, I think there are a few things.

Prepare yourself for a freeze. Have a great sleeping bag, good clothing, and other equipment to stay warm even in a "colder than expected" situation.

Prepare your home for a freeze. I live in the northeast and I have a plan in place for protecting my home from freeze damage (yet untested) if we lose power and I can't keep a generator running. It involves draining pipes and using RV antifreeze in things that can't be drained completely (drain traps, washing machine, dishwasher, etc. etc.).

Understand that housing varies by region. Homes in Texas may have underpowered heating systems, less insulation, and water pipes outside the home. Take these into account when acting on items above.

My last "big thought" is having a generator and stored fuel supply (or if you can swing it, solar and onsite batteries...) capable of powering your home (including heat) for some fixed amount of time. A generator that relies on natural gas can't be relied on in many situations (earthquakes, flooding, etc.) including this one.

This is a long way of saying prepare for the weather/natural disaster EXTREMES of what could happen where you live, not the averages, if you want to be less impacted.

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#298422 - 02/20/21 03:39 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: roberttheiii]
brandtb Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 470
Loc: S.E. Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: roberttheiii
. . . .

My last "big thought" is having a generator and stored fuel supply (or if you can swing it, solar and onsite batteries...) capable of powering your home (including heat) for some fixed amount of time. A generator that relies on natural gas can't be relied on in many situations (earthquakes, flooding, etc.) including this one.

. . . .


I also have been thinking about a generator, but I was considering propane. It seems more reliable than gasoline. Any thoughts on propane?
_________________________
Brian Brandt

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#298423 - 02/20/21 04:55 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1527
We can also take this opportunity to think about power grid failure during the opposite of a cold spell -- a heat wave. Texas regularly reaches 100 degrees and more during the summer. What if you get the summer equivalent of what's going on right now? How do we prepare?

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#298424 - 02/20/21 06:18 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3658
Loc: USA
Propane: less power for given weight of fuel, but fuel essentially never goes bad. Burns cleaner than gasoline.

Gasoline: more power for given weight of fuel, more available than propane. Even stabilized, gasoline doesnít last more than three years in storage, and Iíve been sticking to rotating it annually.


The generator I have now is gasoline only; when I replace it Iíll almost certainly get a dual-fuel model.

My gas generator could be converted to run on propane, and propane/dual-fuel generators can be converted to run on natural gas.

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#298425 - 02/20/21 06:19 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3658
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Bingley
We can also take this opportunity to think about power grid failure during the opposite of a cold spell -- a heat wave. Texas regularly reaches 100 degrees and more during the summer. What if you get the summer equivalent of what's going on right now? How do we prepare?


Generally speaking one needs a very large generator to power a whole-house AC.

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#298426 - 02/20/21 07:39 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: chaosmagnet]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7647
Loc: southern Cal
For spells there is lots of traditional guidance.

Be an early riser, like 4 AM. Do the heavy labor before it heats up. Take an extended break during the heat of the day - generally around 3 PM or so There are good reasons for siestas - it has nothing to do with laziness.

Keep hydrated and watch others for signs of dehydration. Drink water, not booze. Watch your electrolyte balance.

Seek shade and let any breeze circulate. Take advantage of any awnings, etc. and consider temporary fixtures.

Watch the relative humidity. it is much easier to be comfortable when RH is low. Then dousing clothing and surroundings with water is extremely effective. If RH is high, e really cautious because sweating does not cool you.

A broad rimmed hat is really vital if you are in the sun.

I remember a project in the Grand Canyon near phantom Ranch. We were on the job at 4AM, knocked off at noon, working on notes, etc. until after dinner, and then returned for about two hours. Temps regularly exceeded 100F. All survived....


Edited by hikermor (02/20/21 07:41 PM)
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#298428 - 02/21/21 12:25 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3753
Loc: TX
Winter Storm 2021 AAR - Spring, TX
Minimum temperature reached was 5F
Three days below freezing.
Power out for 13 hours.
Only damage was rain gutter getting torn off house by weight of ice.

Had Done Right:
1. Filled up vehicle gas tanks.
2. Had some bottles of HEET on hand to add to gas in case of water condensation.
3. Filled every thermos and insulated water bottle with boiling water to use as needed.
4. Taught daughters how to flush toilets by adding water to the bowl.
5. Covered outdoor faucets and pipes. Pool noodles worked for that.
6. Charged up ham radios.
7. Charged up backup deep cycle batteries.
8. Replaced house air filters to minimize strain of furnace.
9. Made sure living room ceiling fan is turning clockwise.
10. Trickled water to minimize risk of frozen pipes.
11. Had almost 100 gallons of water stored.
12. Used only 2 gallons of stored water.
13. Moved water bottles out of vehicles before the froze and split.
14. 60 Watt incandescent bulbs put out a LOT of heat. Put one in lamp in attic
15. Kept a flashlight in pocket at all times even when power was on.
16. Make sure each family member has a flashlight.
17. Plugged in vehicle batteries.
18. Checked generator (oil, placement, CO monitor)
19. Had 5 days worth of propane for generator (Generac LP 3250)
20. One 20# tank of propane lasted about 6 hours but we could have used a LOT less electricity.
21. Neighbor traded bbq of propane in exchange for electricity.
22. Lent neighbor walkie-talkie so we could communicate.
23. Never lost fiber-optic internet connection.
24. Had spare spark plugs, oil, and heavy-duty construction grade power cords for generator.
25. Ran gas fireplace for heat.
26. Everyone had heavy cold-weather sleeping bags.
27. Everyone had warm clothes.
28. Moved everyone into one bedroom to sleep to maximize body heat.
29. Lots of chatter by local ham radio operators.
30. Monitored the county and city emergency dispatchers using a Baofeng UV-5R radio. LOTS of trouble around us.

Had Done Wrong:
1. Let myself get really wet while getting generator set up.
2. Had forgotten the proper steps to start generator.
3. Didnít cover plants well enough.

Next Time:
1. Buy more sheets to cover plants.
2. Check fire extinguishers. They were fine but I didnít check them until it was too late to replace them.
3. One of my 30-watt solar panel wasnít working. 100 Watt panel ordered and will arrive in a few days.
4. Get spare pull rope for starting generator, just in case.
5. Dig out 12vdc battery-to-MacBook power cables.
6. Get 12vdc power cable for WiFi router
7. Get 12vdc power cable for fiber optic modem.
8. Make styrofoam block for running power cord through the window
9. Couldnít move generator to the back yard where I had planned to use it.
10. Get big chain to lock generator to porch.
11. Put eggs, cheese, bread, and other often-used stuff in a cooler rather than leaving in fridge.
12. Get slip-on, waterproof footwear.
13. Buy cherry Jell-O
14. Buy more cup-a-soup
15. Buy more packets of instant potatoes
16. Buy hose clamps and flexible hose big enough to slide over broken pipes. No pipes actually broke.
17. We always had water but in a future event if thereís no water then turn off the water heater.
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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#298429 - 02/21/21 12:41 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: Bingley]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3753
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: Bingley
We can also take this opportunity to think about power grid failure during the opposite of a cold spell -- a heat wave. Texas regularly reaches 100 degrees and more during the summer. What if you get the summer equivalent of what's going on right now? How do we prepare?


Texas power generation, public works, houses, and commercial buildings are generally built for hot weather rather than cold. We have weeks of +100F weather every summer without a glitch, even this last one where everyone was home running their AC units, a bunch of computers, and the microwave non-stop.

*Knocks vigorously on wood* A hurricane could damage power plants along the coast like hurricane Harvey did in 2017 but that storm caused little issue with the TX power grid outside to the high-wind zones. In the case of this 2021 TX Snowpocalypse, numerous power generators, using different fuels, ended up going offline because they froze up. Heat doesn't have the same effect on equipment.

Now, imagine a historical, high heat event somewhere like Minnesota. The houses and buildings there are designed for cold weather, not hot. Most private homes rely on window-mounted AC units rather than the whole-house AC systems down south. If the heat shoots up and stays up all those MN window ACs will draw a lot of power and maybe trip some circuits but the bigger issue will be all the people who don't have easy access to cooling. A quick search showed a MN heatwave in 2019 killed six people when the temperature reached the mid-90s for several days and a few hours above 100F.
https://www.winknews.com/2019/07/20/massive-heat-wave-blamed-for-at-least-6-deaths/

We live in a complex world...which makes it fragile. Thankfully there are groups of people to talk to who understand this. smile
-Blast
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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