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.