Winter Arrives Early as Deadly Storm Avery Cuts Power to More Than 400,000

According to the calendar, winter starts on Friday, December 21. But just try telling that to people in the eastern half of the country who were hit with a vicious and deadly storm over the weekend.

Featuring rain, snow, ice and gusty winds, this wintry storm took at least eight lives. It also left up to a foot of snow in some parts and dangerous ice accumulations in others.

This storm named Avery roared up from the Deep South and plunged into New England. It knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people across several states.

Most of the deaths connected to the storm were the result of automobile accidents.

Icy Roads Lead to Deaths

Two people were killed and many others injured in Mississippi when slick conditions caused a tour bus to flip on its side.

In Miami County, Indiana, a 60-year-old woman was killed after she lost control of her car on an icy road.

Three people died in accidents in Arkansas when drivers were unable to keep their cars on the road due to slippery conditions.

In New Jersey, police responded to over 500 motor vehicle accidents and helped more than 1,000 motorists.

Insane Weather Across the Country

USA Today reported that more than 80 million people live in areas where a winter storm alert was in effect last weekend. From Arkansas to Maine.

Now, wintry weather in the fall in New England may not be all that unusual. But snow in Arkansas and Mississippi? In mid-November?

And just prior to the storm hitting, Texas and Oklahoma had snow and bitterly cold temperatures. Again, in mid-November.

What is going on?

‘Stay in School’ Has New Meaning

For most of the Northeast, Avery was the first snow storm of the season. It wreaked havoc by downing trees, power lines, and causing a travel nightmare.

Some drivers were stranded for upwards of 12 hours on a snowy interstate in Pennsylvania. While others were forced to sit in traffic overnight due to accidents.

Police said they had to wake some drivers up early the next morning to let them know the road was finally clear enough to use.

A number of students in New Jersey were forced to stay the night in their schools on Friday night. It was just too dangerous to go outside and try to get home.

Thousands Still Without Power

As often happens, ice was a bigger culprit than snow when it came to power outages. Weighed down from ice, tree branches snapped and fell on power lines.

“It’s multiple trees down,” said Todd Myers, a spokesman for West Penn Power. “Tearing down poles, tearing hardware off of poles.”

In Virginia and West Virginia, nearly 100 power line poles were broken by the storm, with 700 spans of downed wire.

Even today, thousands are still without power in Pennsylvania and places across the Northeast.

And – guess what? More cold and snow is on the way for those with or without power. In Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine… potentially up to six inches in some parts with wind chills well below zero.

Extreme Weather Becoming the Norm

Are Avery and the expected arctic blast merely flukes? A couple of years ago, I might have said “yes” to a question like that. But when “flukes” become more and more common, they’re not so “flukey” anymore.

The fact is, the U.S. has been getting hammered with extreme weather events at an unprecedented rate.

As I told you less than two weeks ago, the United Nations recently issued a report on this topic. They said there was a 151 percent increase in climate-related disaster damages in the last 20 years.

A UN official said, “There is a very sharp increase in the number of climate-related events.”

Unprepared? It’s No Longer an Option

Unfortunately, we can’t change the weather. The only thing we can change is how we prepare ourselves for it.

An obvious choice to help with power outages is to have a generator on hand.

But if that generator runs on gas, there could be a bigger problem than not having power.

Just earlier this year, a couple was found dead after Hurricane Florence due to carbon monoxide poisoning from using a gas generator.

Solar generators are a smarter choice. They produce an endless supply of life-saving electricity when you need it most. And without gas, fumes or noise.

Our top recommendation in portable solar generators is the Patriot Power Generator 1500.

With it, you’ll be able to power lights… preserve food… recharge cell phones and computers… or keep critical medical devices going.

You can see a live demo of it in action here

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