Tomorrow.io’s Dan Slagen was featured on FOX Weather discussing disruptions from this year’s historic winter storm, including how aviation, trucking, and rail can adapt to avoid operational and safety threats.
FOX: Nearly 113 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles away from home this holiday season. While they’re taking to the air or hitting the road or possibly even riding the rail, travelers will have to contend with disruptions due to this major winter storm. Joining us now is the Chief Marketing Office at Tomorrow.io. Dan Slagen.
Tomorrow.io is a technology company that provides real-time weather forecasting services. So, Dan, good afternoon to you. Of course, we’re watching airports following these dramatic and bitterly cold temperatures that are moving through. What’s some of the guidance that your company is giving, giving to these airline companies and pilots with this winter storm in mind?
Dan: Thanks, and happy to be there. And yeah, here, Tomorrow.io, we’re a climate adaptation platform. And we provide weather intelligence for a number of different businesses, industries, and cities. With airlines specifically, obviously, we’re going to see slowed and hampered operations due to snow ice, high winds, extreme temperatures, and even flooding in parts of the country as well. And so first and foremost, we want to make sure that we’re keeping the crew safe, safe, as well as passengers. And we’re really helping them understand, from a tactical standpoint, what are the reasons that there are going to be delays or safety issues.
So one example is de-icing. You need to make sure that your planes are de-iced. However, if you’re dealing with snow, ice, and wind gusts above 40 miles an hour, you usually can’t de-ice your plane. So we’re trying to advise them on finding pockets of time throughout the course of the day when they could de-ice as many planes as possible to make sure that they can get them out without having an overload of delays.
FOX: Interesting. I’ve always wondered that myself, and just trying to think of the threshold when you can actually get that DIC process done, as opposed to when you just have to wait for conditions to improve. But let’s talk about now for folks who maybe aren’t taking to the skies, but they’re going to be hitting the roads. What should travelers expect, especially with the threat of potentially a lot of significant icing?
Dan: Yeah, so we work with a number of different trucking companies and supply chains as well. And what we advise them specifically is to watch out for the major risk areas. One, there’s just going to be icy roads, snow, black ice, those types of things. We’re going to want to make sure if you don’t have to travel, you aren’t. But if you are, then you’re making sure you’re taking precautions. And even with some of the larger trucks, we see 50-mile-an-hour wind gusts blowing them over. And so we recommend really making sure that you’re watching out between icy roads, wind gusts, those types of things.
And just specifically on the temperatures as well—we’re seeing negative 20, negative 40 degrees across there, especially if you’re driving an electric car, the battery is going to be impacted. Or if you’re just driving a gas-powered car as well and making sure that you have a backup, whether it’s water supply, just make sure you’re preparing for the worst.
FOX: We’ve talked about planes and automobiles. I guess we have the trains left. Are you guys expecting any disruption a day into the rails at all with this system?
Dan: Sure. I mean, at this level of extreme temperatures and weather variability, there’s going to be anything from just general mechanical failures to potential staffing issues. So we expect to see some delays there as well. But again, what we’re advising these companies from operations and safety perspective is yes, here’s the weather that’s coming down the pipe, but you have these pockets of time, or you can either operate as safely as possible or try to make up some of the inefficiencies that the weather is going to be causing.
FOX: It’s going to be very important to follow, especially as we work toward these next 24 hours. Thanks, Dan.