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BLOG > February 2019 > Extreme Cold Temps Blast the United States

Extreme Cold Temps Blast the United States

Winter storm front after storm front continue to hammer the US. Extreme cold temperatures recorded. Prepare your backup generator for extreme operating conditions.

Extreme Winter Weather

A polar vortex contributes to extreme winter weather. When the polar vortex breaks apart, colder air travels south. This year, it split into three distinct circulation areas during the first ten days of January. News 4 Tucson published an article that featured a polar vortex video from NASA. Temperatures ranged from -10 to -40 degrees F through the Northcentral and Northeastern portions of the US. The data collected was from January 20 to January 29, 2019.

The amount and type of precipitation with large temperature changes, accompanied by wind, can have crippling effects to any area the storm travels through. When a winter storm attacks a region that has above freezing temperatures, rain changes to freezing rain or sleet prior to snowfall beginning. Heavy snowfall and high winds add to the total destructive force of the storm. 

The Farmers Almanac Winter Forecast included the following bullet points:
  • Colder than normal conditions from the Continental Divide east through the Appalachians
  • Above normal snowfall for the Great Lakes, Midwest, New England and Pacific Northwest
  • Frigid weather expected in mid-February
  • Winter will hang on with stormy conditions through the official start of spring
The Weather Channel began naming winter storms in November of 2012. The 2018 - 2019 list of storms was published some time ago. When a large winter storm meets the criteria, it is assigned the next name on the list. This year there are 26 names for storms. Maya marks the halfway point of the list and is forecasted to pummel the Northeast through 2/13/19.

While Maya hammers the Northeast, Nadia moves into the Pacific North West with accumulation predictions greater than 3 feet. As the storm moves east across the Rockies in Colorado, snowfall is expected up to 3 feet. The storm is expected to be a slow mover and begin at some point on 2/13/19 in Colorado. This puts the United States in the grip of two major storms at the same time traveling across multiple states.

Prepare Your Backup Generator for Winter Outages

Prepare Generator for Winter
With the winter forecast and the number of storms that travel across the states, it is almost impossible to assume that utility power will not fail for some amount of time. To ensure your emergency generator starts and runs during a power outage, make sure:
  • Diesel Fuel - Both #1 and # 2 Diesel fuel have temperature points that begin to gel and become non-usable. Consult the manufacturer for the correct diesel fuel for winter operation and fuel system additives.
  • Starting Batteries - A fully charged battery has a specific gravity of approximately 1.270. A fully charged battery will not freeze until ambient temperature reaches -76 degrees F. As the level of charge decreases, the temperature it will freeze raises. A completely discharged battery can freeze at 32 degrees F.
  • Snow Accumulation - Clear cooling louvers and entry doors to generators. Make sure all weather-resistant enclosures are protected from extreme storm conditions. Weatherproof enclosures should not leak during heavy accumulations.
  • Coolant - Make sure the coolant-specific gravity exceeds coldest area temperature. Connect the block heater during winter months. If engine does not contain block heater, install and connect.
Geographic location and weather trends dictate the steps to take to ensure proper operation during extremely cold temperatures. All generator manufacturers publish cold weather or extremely cold weather operating procedures. Always consult the guidelines when designing your checks.

Buildings with critical power requirements cannot allow for a power outage for any amount of time. Planned Maintenance is a cornerstone for taking care of the generator set. Load testing at specified intervals ensures all emergency power generation equipment performs to factory specifications. A well-maintained, tested generator will start during power outages. Make sure backup batteries are in a warm dry location.

Generator Source has been in the industrial generator supply and repair business for more than 35 years. We offer generator maintenance, troubleshooting, testing, and repair services for all of Colorado and Southern Wyoming. Go to Colorado Services for more information. 


Diesel Blog Team | 2/8/2019 10:35:35 AM | 0 comments
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