Winter Storm Elliott Keeps Getting Stronger!– OnMyWay Mobile App User News

As Winter Storm Elliott promises to drive temperatures down across the western United States, combined with already increasing gas pricing, officials with the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) would like to remind natural gas customers to be cognizant of their gas usage this holiday season.

“Dropping temperatures mean natural gas is in greater demand,” said Jordan Garcia, Deputy Utility Manager of Electric Production. “The natural gas system in New Mexico is tightly intertwined, so if it’s suddenly colder than usual in one part of the state, demand goes up for the whole state, and when demand goes up, so do prices.”

In consideration of pricing and demand, Garcia and DPU’s management team encourage Los Alamos customers to watch their thermostats and hot water usage over the holidays.

“You can lower your consumption and bills by remembering to reset your thermostats before leaving town,” said Conservation Coordinator Abbey Hayward. “I wouldn’t go lower than 50 and would open any cabinet doors that have pipes behind them to be safe. Also, if you have pets that will stay in the house, don’t go lower than 60.”

New Mexico Gas Company (NMGC) distributes natural gas to communities throughout the state, including Los Alamos. NMGC transmission pipelines supply the gas to the Los Alamos townsite and White Rock that DPU distributes to customers. NMGC also supplies natural gas to Los Alamos National Laboratory, which has its own distribution system.

As the ultimate distributors of natural gas, DPU and utility providers, must continually purchase proper amounts of the commodity—not too much and not too little—to ensure the entire distribution system remains properly balanced. One provider’s shortfall can affect others on the same pipeline system. That delicate balance drives up demand for both commodity and cooperation when it’s cold.

DPU received a Critical Day Alert on Tuesday morning, effective Wednesday, Dec. 21, through Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 8 a.m. Garcia said this alert does not request or signify an immediate need to curtail gas usage, but rather heightens awareness that natural gas supply is more complicated than usual and that we need to respect our impact on the overall system. Furthermore, in DPU’s experience, these alerts typically contribute to even higher market pricing.

Officials urge preparedness for winter storm

As the winter storm dubbed “Elliott” by The Weather Channel approaches, state officials are emphasizing the importance of having emergency supplies, even at home.

The Adjutant General’s Office advised Monday that a home emergency kit should include a battery-operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries, extra blankets and warm clothing, nonperishable food, high-energy snacks, and drinking water, at least one gallon per person per day, for a minimum of three days.

A kit in the car or truck should have jumper cables, flares or a reflective triangle, an ice scraper, a car cell phone charger, a blanket, a map, and cat litter or sand to improve tire traction.

Emporia Municipal Airport and Cottonwood Falls ended Monday with 0.04 inches of light rain. But a few inches of snow now appear likely by the end of the week.

The entire area is under a Winter Storm Watch for Thursday. The National Weather Service rates Emporia at a 73% chance for at least two inches of snow, with a 23% chance for at least four inches.

The latest projections indicate the snow should move through quickly, between midnight and noon. But the wind behind a cold front will make things even worse.

Gusts in Emporia could reach 48 miles per hour, sending wind chills down to -33 Friday morning. Occasional blowing snow also will be an issue for travelers.

The Thursday and Friday forecast highs in Emporia are only seven above zero. Three nights of below-zero temperatures are expected, dropping to -10 Thursday night.

Given all that, Tuesday and Wednesday are good days to get ready. Tuesday should be sunny, but below freezing at 27. Wednesday will have more clouds with a high of 37.

And remember, it could always be worse. Tuesday marks the anniversary of a 1989 winter storm which pushed the wind chill in Minot, North Dakota down to -81.


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