We had a practice run as to how sleet and freezing rain can snarl a city in the deep South,the Friday beforehand.
The weather reporters informed our region to expect this and more, come January 28 and 29, 2014. We, as Louisianian’s, took the advice seriously. We hit the grocery stores that Monday evening, wiping out shelves of goods, as we would in preparing for the approach of an impending hurricane.
Every one was encouraged to stay home. City and state offices, as well as schools closed in anticipation. Some in our area talked of the hype being made of the weather events to come. Well it would seem that this would be the case, especially to those who have lived up north. I am sure my family from the Midwest was wondering the same, after posting about this last ice event.
A coworker aptly noted, in the case of school children, it would be better to err on the side of children’s safety. We watched the weather that Monday evening, all night long. That next day, my husband informed me that when they start closing roads, he was coming to get me, regardless of the office sentiment.
It reminded me of a time when I was a teenager, working at a restaurant in the Midwest during the dead of winter. The owners of the restaurant were from the south, and did not know much of blowing and drifting snow. The report on the radio noted that they expected the main highway would be drifted shut in less than an hour. Dad, of course, anticipated this, and walked into the restaurant not soon after that report. He told my manager that he had come to take me home. The manager tried to disagree, but dad put him in his place, and we left. It turned out to be a very bad evening. It is always best to heed the warnings good advice, especially from the locals.
My husband and I left the city well before noon. We got home before the worst settled in that day. The sleet and rain stalled, blanketing the roadways with a fair amount of ice. the next morning we awoke early to listen to the news and road closures, and to plan a strategy to get to work.
In listening to the news, we heard of other states and areas that were not as prepared for the unusual weather in the deep south. Alabama and Georgia motorists abandoned their vehicles, when interstates became virtual parking lots.
People became stranded, some had opted to stay the night in retail establishments, as it was the only option. News channels were showing pictures of people sleeping on the floors of grocery stores, home improvement stores and the like.
School children were left in schools to spend the night. In some cases, children had to spend the night on school buses, as they were caught in the worst conditions of the winter weather. There was talk of forecasters hyping the weather and invoking hysteria. Weather forecasters were providing good information for all to be aware of. The sense of urgency regarding the impending weather, was heeded in our state. This kept families together and allowed the authorities to address the conditions on the roads.
It is a good idea to have an emergency plan in your local area for weather emergencies, including a plan of what you would do if you cannot get home, especially when sneaux and ice is projected in south Louisiana.
Yesterday was the first time in the 32 years living here, that I have seen an entire day with icing conditions. Usually we warm up over freezing, and the ice does not last.
Roads were closing all over the city, as many streets have elevated portions, going over canals, bayou’s and the like.
All in all, the day was interesting, listening to the reports of closures and conditions, while hearing the sleet hitting the windows of our building. In the end, driving about town became like a puzzle or maze. Who could come up with the path home, without encountering a road block.
It gives new meaning to the term “evacuation route”!
Watching the Rose Parade is a tradition in our family. I grew up on it. My parents began watching in the 1960’s, well before cable television. My parents would watch, and comment on the floats, the ingenuity, and how the fragrance must permeate the air there. We would watch the bands and equestrians and marvel at how far many traveled. One of my parents dreams was to attend this parade in person. (They did make in 1995 or 1996!)
This parade was first broadcast on television, in 1947. It is watched on television in over 127 countries, and is viewed on the website in over 150 countries.
The sad part of this story is that many, and possibly all, California growers no longer grow roses commercially. They cannot compete with those roses coming in from South America. California growers face the most rigid regulations by comparison, so much so, that they cannot compete.
My husband works in the wholesale floral industry, and we make trips to California. We meet the growers, tour their fields, and marvel at how they persist, adapt, and survive. One particular grower of roses, had to come to terms with his survivability. He no longer is a grower of roses, but of orchids.
Lane Devries, President and CEO of Sun Valley Floral, published this telling article–America’s Flowers, Worth Fighting For. In this article Mr. Devries “provides a domestic flower farmer’s perspective on the effect of federal trade policy on flower imports”. In the end, he notes that, he sees a time when consumers will request local flowers, like locally grown produce. News and information about California flowers can be found here.
One other little known fact outside of the industry–80% of flowers bought in our country, are imported.
Given that fact, and that most states do not have the growing climate of California, California grown flowers are America’s local.
Minos the Saint was mentioned in an article posted by OffBeat, a website that highlights Louisiana Music and Culture.