February 13, 2014
At this point, it’s snowverkill.
Snow, especially in these parts, has a transforming effect, turning adults into children, and turning children out of their house, away from their iPhones and video games, and into the powdery white stuff to frolic, making a snowman or ambushing a neighbor with a snowball. You know, like kids used to do.
But enough is enough, and we have had way more than enough.
Robeson County, in just 17 days, has experienced two once-in-a-decade winter events, raising the question as to whether such occurrences in the future can be referred to as once-in-a-decade events. Perhaps Winter-of-2014 events would be a better moniker to assign going forward when we get snowed under.
Leon, which arrived on Feb. 28, was mostly a snow event that kicked kids out of school for four days, but didn’t cause too many problems beside sending people inside for a few days to get on each other’s last nerve.
Pax was much different, arriving as snow but also bringing a mix of sleet and freezing rain at different times during its three-day stay. As we are writing this, about 10,000 electrical customers in Robeson County, most with Duke Energy, are without power, meaning there are tens of thousands of people who are trying to figure out how to stay warm and have a hot meal.
We are still struggling to understand why no shelters have opened in Robeson County where people can go to find warmth, soup and a sandwich, a cot and comfort.
Other consequences: Commerce came to a virtual halt, costing businesses, many of them locally owned, money; the Public Schools of Robeson County has now lost eight days to the weather since Feb. 28, and trying to squeeze all that classroom time in to meet state mandates will be a challenge that will not satisfy all involved who are affected; the roads, which are slowly improving, have been a mess, with dozens of fender-benders that will keep body shops busy — at least there were no fatalities.
Northerners like to poke fun at we Southerners and how we freak out when snow is in the forecast, but the truth is we simply are ill-prepared to handle frozen precipitation, a condition that is the result of our lack of experience in dealing with stuff.
But this county, with a little help from our friends, lawmen, emergency workers, utility crews and Good Samaritans, to mention just a few, is struggling to its feet following Leon and Pax.
Given the practice, we should be even better next time. There are, we regret to inform you, 35 more days of winter.