Pat Shingleton: "Frozen Gas and Frostbite"
We're enjoying an early Mardi Gras this year that sends us more of a winter-type pattern rather than an early spring arrangement when the day falls into late February, we're also keeping warm through Fat Tuesday. With that noted, typically, natural gas, delivered to the home, is too dry to freeze. However, if the pipe carrying the gas is exposed to temperatures of -20 degrees, freezing could occur. Residual water, left in the line after installation or in a low spot could activate freezing. A few years ago, OGE Energy in Oklahoma City had an incident whereby natural gas froze at the well head due to temperatures dropping to zero. It was the first time in 15 years that this occurred when the temperature in northeastern Oklahoma was colder than locations at the South Pole. Enogex transports 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day on its lines into the Midwest. When the mercury drops, ten percent of the gas supply could be compromised due to cold weather. As temperatures drop, the body attempts to generate more heat by shivering, a condition that increases muscle tone and heat. With plenty of winter remaining daily we note the record for cold weather survival. It began on February 2, 1967 when Canadian bush pilot Robert Gauchie ran out of fuel near the Arctic Circle. Forced to land, he withstood temperatures of minus 48. He wasn’t rescued for 58 days and lost 54 pounds while suffering five frostbitten toes. Gauchie spent most of his time inside the plane, tucked under six sleeping bags and consuming raw fish and emergency rations. He was saved by a persistent rescue pilot after extensive searches were cancel led.
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