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ETpro's avatar

Over 1,000,000 left without power by winter snow storm. What's with America?

Asked by ETpro (34543points) February 27th, 2010

How can we keep on crowing about being the greatest, most advanced nation on earth when a winter snowstorm leaves us crippled. It’s winter. It snows in the winter. By now this shouldn’t come as a shock!

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24 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

It’s the goddam Obama Socialist Communist Nazi Gay agenda, that’s what it is.

MissAusten's avatar

That’s like calling a hurricane “a windy, rainy day.” These snowstorms have been extreme, with hurricane-force winds. That kind of wind and that much snow creates problems beyond typical winter weather.

LuckyGuy's avatar

We keep crowing because it will be fixed in a couple of days no matter how bad it is. It might be 1,000,000 today but I will guess 500,000 tomorrow and less than 100,000 by Monday.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Winter storms are still somewhat unpredictable and, no matter how ready you are for them, dealing with that many feet of snow is gonna take some time. Plain and simple.

Shouldn’t the real greatness of America derive from its people being able to live without power for a few days?

PacificRimjob's avatar

America is populated by humans.

All of humanity’s creations are imperfect.

Spend some time where they haven’t even heard of electricity, then you can bitch.

Make sure your laptop battery is fully charged before you go.

LunaChick's avatar

Thankfully, we still have power. But, if we didn’t, it would be completely understandable. We got hit with nearly 2 feet of snow, with drifts high enough to cover doors, etc… I’m lucky that a friend came over to help me dig out, otherwise I’d still be out there shoveling.

Downed power lines are not a quick fix, especially in this type of weather. Everyone knew this storm was coming you just need to do what most people do, when snow is called for – stock up on the necessities and be ready to hunker down, for a few days.

laureth's avatar

The big snow is one reason that climate change legislation is dead in the water here this year, despite the fact that climate change may very well mean bigger nastier snowstorms. People think that because it was poorly-named “global warming” earlier on, that winter in general (and severe unpredictable snowstorms in particular) is proof that it’s all bunk.

This is one big reason why we need climate change legislation, like, ten years ago. We’re not set up to deal with big changes in climate – which is my answer to the OP’s question.

Dilettante's avatar

This is the situation: The FatCat network who control most of the media in the US also own, either directly, or via stock, other ways, the Major Petroleum Companies, Coal Companies, Have deals with OPEC and other Oil-producing countries, Power Companies, other Energy Suppliers, and large businesses who use tremendous amounts of energy in order to make (keyword coming) M O N E Y.
Now, they will do anything, anything, at all, to make sure they keep making this M O N E Y, even if it means poisoning the environment for their own children. So, what they do is put together a terrific campaign of lies, sophistry, spins, half-truths, other ways to influence the emotions of the saps who worship them (ironically these are the same people who are being screwed by them) and watch Fox News, etc, where they get their little brains bent into believing there is no global warming, and then they go out and protest, cause all kinds of trouble, because they’ve been led to believe that if something were actually done about global warming, it would be harmful to them. See? That’s how it works, It’s all about M O N E Y, and how the Fatcats can keep it rollin’ in, no matter what they have to do.

Here is a factual, specific example of how it’s done. This of course is just the tip of the iceberg.:
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal now owns a 7 percent stake in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., the parent company of Fox News, making him the company’s largest shareholder outside of Murdoch’s own family. Alwaleed is best known for going to Ground Zero after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacksand personally handing then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani a check for $10 million to help finance relief efforts. Afterwards, Alwaleed released a statement blaming the attacks not on the Saudi airline hijackers, but on U.S. policies in the middle east. As a result, Giuliani returned the prince’s donation, gaining him praise from Fox News for doing so. Now that Alwaleed has a controlling ownership in News Corp., he is gaining influence over Fox News. In 2005, just months after Alwaleed acquired his first 5.4 percent stake in News Corp., Fox News covered riots in Paris under a banner saying “Muslim riots.” Alwaleed allegedly called Murdoch and had him change the banner to say “Civil riots.” Investigative journalist Joseph Trento also reported that a comment he recently made on a Fox Network morning news show, Fox and Friends, about Saudi Arabian money still financing Al Qaeda, was edited out of the show. Trento also reports that Alwaleed “has personally donated huge amounts of money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.” In a rareinterview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto in January, AlWaleed explained his personal reasons for seeking influence in American politics: the U.S. buys Saudi Arabia’s oil, and the bulk of his country’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from oil. Fox News reliably broadcasts misinformation on clean energy, and aggressively fights efforts to move America away from being dependent on a fossil fuels.

Dilettante's avatar

@laureth Tried to make the last one “at” you, but the thing malfunctioned.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dilettante Wow. I was just going to say if you live in the northeast it snows, grow a pair. Move to somewhere were it stays warm, like New Orleans. Hey, they have to deal with the weather too.

kevbo's avatar

It’s called Disaster Capitalism.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Our technology is small compared to the power of nature.

Dilettante's avatar

It would be hilarious, if it weren’t so awful, to watch the FoxClown Zombies tout winter snowstorms as proof that global warming, climate change, as a result of human behavior, does not exist. So funny! As the glaciers in Antarctica melt, giant icebergs the size of Belgium break off, no snow on Mt. Kilamanjero—too bad, Mr. Hemingway—the Himalayas, not enough snow for the winter Olympics, incredible tsunamis, el nino, total oceanic changes, oh..don’t get me started. The thing is, we will never change one single mind..they have been hypnotized by the FatCats to believe that anything that halts the flow of the Fatcats’ money is going to harm THEM, somehow…their EMOTIONS have been gotten to. People believe what they want to believe, you see. That is the basic premise of the massive misinformation (euphemism for lies), fear tactics, other nefarious devices being used by the FatCats to keep that money rolling in and stop this adminsitration’s efforts to curtail it, at all costs. And they are doing one helluva good job, too. They remember, always employ, their key premise: “There’s a lot of very ignorant people in this country.”
Notice I used, ignorant, not, stupid. Shall we say, “unaware?” Going to just CLICK now.


I’ve read the news reports coming out of the Northeast United States and the snowstorms they have been getting, but I must say that is pretty normal weather for us up here in northwestern prairie Canada. I don’t think they are as prepared as we are, because we deal with really terrible snowstorms every year. Our buildings are made to withstand heavy snowfalls, our roads, bridges, and telecommunication equipment are all built with bad winters in mind, and our houses, schools and workplaces all have effective central heating and insulation. In addition, we know how to dress for the freezing climate, and are usually well-travelled on the heavily iced and snowed- in streets with winter tires well in advance of the freezing months that run from early November (sometimes late October) to early April (sometimes late April). Heck, we even got a very late snowfall in June one year! Lol.

Berserker's avatar

Well, the power may be gone, but somehow I think people will get by.

I live in Qu├ębec, which isn’t actually a province, it’s the season of Winter. But no matter how used to snow we are, the power in my little town always goes out due to the weight of the snow on power lines. Just makes reading Lord of the Rings by candle light even more badass.

But from what I hear, most of the US doesn’t have badass winters like higher North, so it’s understandable that slight chaos might issue upon an unexpected amount of snow or particularly violent storm. You just may not be as ready, or as expecting as some others who await this kinda thing every year.

YARNLADY's avatar

What I don’t get is why the wires are in the air in the first place. Here in my neighborhood, all the wires for everything are underground.

ETpro's avatar

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I am as appaled as many of you at the nonsense Fox and the Great Right-Wing Noise Machine are pouring out about a storm being proof the climate is perfectly normal. That’s patently absurd. Greater variability of weather of all types is exactly what we would expect with global warming.

@MRSHINYSHOES That was my point. Building power distribution networks that are fault tolerant and immune to most weather events isn’t stuff we have to wait for Star Trek technology to acomplish. People are out of work. Instead of idling even more with shoddy, broken-down infrastructure, let’s put those who need jobs to work designing and building a 21st century infrastructure that actually can stand up to a big winter storm.


@ETpro I do hope the U.S. will follow our example and build what we already have to better cope with winter storms. Those guys down there in the Northeast continue to be ill-prepared for the worst storms, which up here where I live is considered normal winter weather.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Ice plus wind means power lines go down. The high voltage tranmission lines can’t be put underground and suburban/rural distribution lines are prohibitively expensive to route that way. One of the problems is that the power network consists of huge central generating stations and regional interconnections. If a storm takes out the transmission lines, the generating stations in some areas have to shut down because there is no way to distribute the power.

Our local power grid goes down regularly in the winter. Our farm generates most of its own power anyway (photovoltaic, wind turbines and small hydro) and go totally self-sufficient with a diesel generator if need be. We heat with wood. When the grid power goes down, our system automatically disconnects itself from the outside world. Once the grid power is restored, we manually reconnect after checking with the co-op.

The biggest hassle at this time of year is the power consumption of our pumps and RO unit for maple processing. If the power from the electric co-op goes down, our internal system can’t handle those loads. Adding a second diesel generator just isn’t worth it.

ETpro's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I’m sure there is front end cost involved. Big costs. But as @MRSHINYSHOES points out, there are areas that already effectively deal with much worse weather than we get here in New England.

How do you get to the photovoltaics to clean the smow and ice off them?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@ETpro Snowshoes. Yes, It would cost us at least another $50k to be completely independant of the grid, not really worth it since this is the only time of the year we normally buy power.

Actually New England does deal very well with major storms. Regions with consistantly worse weather lose their electric power in rural areas more frequently. People living in such areas either install backup generators or learn to live without electricity for short periods (up to a week).

Sophief's avatar

Even America can’t stop the snow falling.

mattbrowne's avatar

Our technological infrastructure gets more and more complex. Let’s take a winter storm of similar magnitude 200 years ago. A kerosene lamp does not require utilities and a grid. So what has changed is not the weather but our vulnerability.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne Certainly the weather was much colder 200 years ago. We were at the end of the little ice age.

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