Brace yourself, Wisconsin! Things are getting really bad really fast.
Unless you've been living in a cave or under a rock for the past week, the gentle reader is aware that we are going to have another go around with a polar vortex which will be just as bad if not worse than the one we had three weeks ago. Air temperatures could hit as low as 20 below in Milwaukee and much, much colder in the north. Add to that this blustering arctic winds and the state could see wind chill temperatures down to 70 below.
Frostbite can occur on exposed skin in ten minutes. Hypothermia can also occur in a very short time if one is not dressed for it. In other words, this is the type of weather that can prove lethal in short order.
Sadly, the state is finding itself to be poorly prepared for what is coming.
On the west side of the state, people are being told to keep their thermostats at 60 and not to use their gas-powered appliances because their was a pipeline rupture in Canada. There is no word on whether they power company even had a back up plan on just how they were going to serve their customers in case of such an emergency.
As if that wasn't bad enough, there is a "sudden" propane shortage in the state. This shortage has cost the price to to shoot up for those lucky enough to even find a dealer with propane in stock and willing to deliver it to them.
When I had heard of this news on Friday, I called one of the dealers that I've worked with in the past to heat my trailer in central Wisconsin. When we had our big tank filled at the end of summer, it had cost us about $1.80 per gallon. On Friday, it was $4.99 per gallon. It jumped three times in price.
Fortunately, as that we don't live there full time, the one time supply should be enough (I hope!) to get us through the winter. For people living there full time, their needs are much higher and this could end up creating financial ruin for many people. Sadly, there is a strong chance that some people won't even have that choice of food, medicine or heat since they can't get a delivery.
The article says that the causes for the shortage is due to the colder winter, farmers using more propane last fall to dry their crops, a pipeline shutting down for a month for maintenance (why would they do that during the busy season?!) and exporting more propane than before.
What is not mentioned anywhere is that they are starting to use propane for fracking mines to work around environmental regulations. Since its start in 2008 through the spring of 2013, propane has already been used in 1,863 fractures in 657 locations. Despite its use to work around environmental protections, this method doesn't appear to be all that safe either.
There is no reports of propane being used for fracking in Wisconsin. But then again, the DNR is in such a shambles, they don't really know what's going on anyway. On top of that, even if they did find something wrong, they just work with the companies to cover it up.
What I also find curious and makes me think that there might be more to the story is the fact that, Brandon Scholz, the managing director for Wisconsin Propane Gas Association is also the head of the Wisconsin Grocers Association as well as a leading partner in the lobbyist group called The Capitol Group. Scholz also has a very long history of being a WISGOP operative, working on many campaign and as an aide to people such as a former congressman.
(Hmmm...the same person in charge of lobbying groups and working on political campaigns...paging Son of Doe!)
On the bright side is that Walker has finally gotten around to declaring a state of emergency. So far, it just seems that this will allow propane dealers to carry more and drive around longer delivering what they don't have. Well, that's certainly useful.
Maybe he thinks people will just burn the money that they won't be saving with his so-called tax breaks. After all, if his friends and masters can light their cigars with hundred dollar bills, surely money must be growing on trees. And he's just smart enough to know that there are a lot of trees in rural Wisconsin. Surely some of them gotta be money trees, right?
What really gets me is that the weather service has been telling us about the impending cold snap for at least a week. And presuming that Walker was in any way competent in his job, he would have been aware of the propane shortage. So why did Walker wait until it was really too late to take any sort of action on the issue, even as ineffective as this is? Could it be that he was too busy campaigning to actually give a damn about the people he was supposed to be representing? Was he too busy polishing the turd which is jobs record and pushing his phony tax break scheme to actually govern the state?
Seeing how they give names to hurricanes and to major snowstorms, perhaps we can call this polar vortex Storm Walker. At least then the corporate media would be able to accurately report that Walker killed people.