2.19.2014

Crazy weather in Alabama



As I am typing this, the temperatures are in the 60s and heading into the 70s by afternoon. Less than a week ago I was looking at four inches of snow on the lawn. That is a crazy amount of snow for us. If we get snow it's usually just a few flakes that don't stick to anything. You'll say oh, it must be so nice to have temperatures in the 70s in February but check the barometer because a storm is coming. A storm with damaging winds and possible tornadoes. Winter to spring to summer and back to winter all in one week. No wonder we turn our meteorologists into weather gods as we seek guidance on what to wear.

The pictures above were taken the last week of January when an unexpected ice storm shut down Birmingham for three days. Folks north of us are free to make fun of us for the panic that accompanies snow. Most of the news reports I read and heard said snow was crippling the South. But it's not the snow we worry about. We worry about ice and hills and cars that don't have 4-wheel drive and drivers, especially the drivers, who don't know how to drive on ice. If there is a chance of snow and ice, we are closing up shop, emptying the grocery store and settling in for a cozy few days at home. 

The most upsetting part of the January 28 clusterflake for me was the few folks who said gee, if you knew it was going to ice why was everyone out in it? Because we didn't know! The storm line shifted and by the time we went to get the kiddos out of school the roads were iced. Had we known the whole city would have been home. Instead we're going to be talking about the ice storm of 2014 for a long time to come. Where did you abandon your car? Where did you sleep? How long did it take you to get home? (I actually got the van home, even up the hill. It took an hour to drive from school, normally a 10-minute trip — I was already at school so I didn't have to fight traffic and ice to get there. We got home before the roads completely iced over, blocked by abandoned cars. Our story is nothing compared to the ordeals of others walking miles to get home, their kids spending the night at school. For that I am grateful and oddly jealous.)

We'll be glued to the TV Thursday watching polygons and hook echoes as the squall line moves through. We may have been a little unkind to our local weather gurus after the ice storm but we'll listen to every word they say, all misunderstandings about a "dusting" of snow forgotten.

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