It used to be a joke, though not a terribly funny one around here, that North Carolina in general and the Triangle in specific were brought to a standstill by just a rumor of a little snow and ice. Oh, how our immigrants from the Northeast loved to comment as they dashed about in their Fords and Chevys, complaining that, “You people don’t know anything about snow and ice or driving in snow and ice. C’mon, and we’ll give you a ride.”
Then came the blizzard of 2000, when the Raleigh-Durham airport recorded just over 20 inches of snow (some in outlying areas claimed 2 feet at least), and even our Jersey Boys and Girls were impressed.
In fact, the weather forecast for Friday morning is amusing only if you don’t have to go anywhere and if you have a good wood fireplace in case your power goes out. That means for most people inclement weather is more than a bit of an inconvenience. There’s work, and there’s the need to cope with school cancellations and arranging for the young ones to be watched. There’s the worry about missing that doctor’s appointment or, worse, having to get to a hospital. There’s the oft-realized concern that going out will have us coming in with a dented fender or worse.
Winter weather is a beauty and a beast all in one.
Gov. Pat McCrory was preparing the state in advance, declaring emergencies and encouraging North Carolinians in areas of the Triangle and west and north to hunker down and be prepared. He encouraged those who needed to check conditions to do so at readync.org or by dialing 511.
Emergency personnel are prepared in such situations, of course, and they’ll do the usual stellar job of helping people in trouble. People also have to take precautions so they won’t need those emergency workers: Don’t go out if unnecessary, keep an eye out for elderly neighbors, prepare as best one can for power failures. Uncommon weather calls for a generous portion of common sense.
For his part, McCrory will do what a governor should do, keeping an eye on things from a sort of weather command central, making periodic reports to the public, continuing to issue cautionary announcements.
He and other officials are hoping this weather crisis is not as bad as feared, but at the least it can serve as a rehearsal for more severe weather that’s sure to come to parts of the state before this winter is over. Nothing could have prepared people for that blizzard of 16 years ago, but it’s safe to say we’re better prepared now than we were then.
As for those among us – you know who you are – who fancy themselves more experienced authorities on winter, we’ll take your word that you know how to drive in snow and ice. But don’t feel the need to prove it to us.