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Opening Arguments

Yeah, we were ready. Big deal.

It is true: Misery loves company. After suffering through the record-breaking cold Tuesday, I started to feel a little better on Wednesday when the temperature crawled out of the single digits. Then I felt a lot better when TV reports started coming in about the snow and cold hitting even the Deep South. I confess, my first reaction was not sympathy but, rather, a gleeful, "Ha, now you know what it's like." This probably sprang from lingering resentment at my brother, who likes to call from Texas in the middle of winter and gloat (of course we all gloat right back at him in August). He isn't gloating this year -- it's been below freezing for several days in Hill Country where he lives.

The channel I was watching featured Atlanta, with scenes of an icy graveyard of cars on major roads because, A) local officials just weren't ready for such weather and, B) they were stupid enough to tell everybody to go home at once, all but guranteeing a frozen gridlock. It was the same in Birmingham: (via Instapundit)

There's a simple explanation for that one, too. Birmingham is one of those cities that shuts down at the faintest hint of snow. Again, this isn't because we are rubes who wonder why God's tears have turned white and fall slower. It's because the city does not have the infrastructure in place to handle snow, and is self-aware enough to realize it. If you don't know how to swim, just stay out of the pool. Easy.

This time, though, the city did not shut down. Schools were open. Places of business kept businessing. That's because as of Tuesday morning, we were being told that all that was coming was a light dusting.

That's no disrespect to James Spann, who is a wonderful weatherperson and a bit of a local legend. But reports like that meant that when the snow actually started in earnest—and it became clear that it was going to stick—people were in offices and kids were at school, instead of being at home like they normally would.

That, in turn, meant that everyone was trying to get home at the same time, on snowy, icy roads that had not been treated, in cars that do not have four-wheel-drive (why would they?). These are, for the most part, people who do not drive in snow very often, which means that accidents like this one were common.

So obvious: You aren't prepared for what you seldom get. I suppose we should be grateful that living in the Great Lakes area requires us to be prepared for just about anything. Honestly, though,  I suspect my state of mind would be better if I lived in one of those "we're not ready" states, glad to experience  a nasty surprise once every decade or so.

Stay warm and dry. We're apparently going to have another big snow on Tuesday. The weather guys on TV say they're sticking to a prediction of 6 inches, but the rumors already have it at 16 or above.

By the way, one feature I've been enjoying on my smartphone is the connection to a weather app that gets its data from the National Weather Service. It has a feature that lets you see the weather seven days out on a single screen. I used to make fun of TV's obsession with the weather and claim that any prediction they made more than three days out was just being made up. But I've found these seven-day forecasts amazingly accurate. Now I'm weather-obsessed.


andrew jarosh
Fri, 01/31/2014 - 9:41pm

Leo life is better when u can wear shorts and flipflops daily.

Leo Morris
Mon, 02/03/2014 - 3:48pm

Sure, go ahead. Rub it in. Check back with me in August.

andrew jarosh
Mon, 02/03/2014 - 7:33pm

Nothing about august a/c and a swimming pool can't cure. Stay warm.