Thursday, April 7, 2022

PBS Terra asks 'Could The Next Blackout Be More Deadly Than Katrina?'

I concluded Samantha Bee updates Ginni Thomas's texts and Alexander Vindman's account of the 'perfect call' by asking my readers "Stay tuned for another retrospective tomorrow for Throwback Thursday. Natural disasters, anyone?" Before I look back at the top entries about natural disasters, PBS Terra's Weathered looks ahead by asking Could The Next Blackout Be More Deadly Than Katrina?

With climate change making temperatures more extreme each year, like we recently saw in the great Texas freeze and the Northwest heatwave, large-scale power outages become a matter of life and death. In 2003, a few transmission lines went down in Ohio leading to cascading failures across the Northeast and over 50 million people losing power. This event points toward critical vulnerabilities in our aging power grid.

Could a power grid failure during an extreme weather event be the most deadly weather disaster in US history? And what can we do to prevent this kind of catastrophic blackout? Watch to find out.
While I found a lot of this familiar, since I started blogging about the 2003 Blackout here a decade ago and more recently wrote about last year's Texas Blackout, and included a description of how to deal with the issue in John Oliver on the power grid for Cut Your Energy Costs Day, what struck me was the sheer number of deaths and hospitalizations from heat waves that would be exacerbated by loss of electricity — thousands of deaths, worse than Hurricane Katrina. When the Lancet reported that climate change is a "medical emergency," the journal wasn't kidding!

PBS Terra's Maiya May asked her viewers for their own power outage stories. It so happens that the most read entry of mine about weather-related and other natural disasters last year was about a power outage. Follow over the jump for links to it and the rest of the popular posts on the topic along with explanations of how they earned their readers.

I had an eventful three days and two nights because of a severe storm knocking out my power from July 9, 2021 is my personal "extreme power outage" story. It ended the blogging year with 2,896 raw page views, ranking ninth by that measure, although it did not rate according to default page views. It earned its early page views though my sharing the link at the Coffee Party USA Michigans's Facebook page, but not the main national page. My friend Kevin G. helped by tweeting the link. Both of those helped it become the sixth most read according to default page views and fourth most read according to raw page views during July 2022 with 479 default and 763 raw page views. As the graph above shows, it continued attracting readers, especially during late October to mid-February, presumably through web search. That lead to it being the ninth most read entry during calendar year 2021 with 2,348 raw page views. The post has earned about 100 more page views since March 20, 2022, as the graph shows it with ~2,970 pages views now.

Western drought likely worst in a millennium and may be the beginning of 'aridification' June 12, 2021 is the one post that earned a place in the default top ten with ~1,660 default and 2,257 raw page views by March 20, 2022. It earned those page views by my sharing the link at Coffee Party USA's Facebook page and by Infidel 753 and Boatbits both sharing the link at their blogs. It was the most read entry during June 2021 with ~1,670 default and 1,984 raw page views. Yes, entries do lose page views according to the default page view counter over time. It ended calendar year 2021 in seventh place according to default and ninth according to default page views with ~1,660 default and 2,235 raw page views.

PBS examines the risks from a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest from July 6, 2021 just made the cut of 1,000 raw page views, ending the year in 31st place among entries posted during the eleventh year of the blog and 34th overall with 1,016 raw page views. I shared the link at Coffee Party USA's Facebook page and Kevin G tweeted the link as well. It was the most read entry during July 2021.

Finally, Drought, fire, and mudslides in California, a story I tell my students from July 5, 2021 was one of two pins from July 2021 and the 2021-2022 blogging year saved by other users on Pinterest during July 2021.

That's it for the most popular posts about natural disasters, whether caused by climate change or not. Stay tuned for a Flashback Friday retrospective about Facebook.

Previous posts in this series Previous retrospectives about top climate posts

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