WOW! This week has been a week that we will be talking about for some time to come! I am just amazed at how the community pitched in and worked together in this situation. Earlier this week, the Birmingham, Alabama Metro Area had a weather forecast of a “Light Dusting” of snow on Tuesday. Our “Light Dusting” turned out to be 3 inches of snow in freezing temperatures. It came on fast and it came on after everyone had taken their kids to school and gone to work. This is the south. We do not have snow tires, chains, etc. And that is because we rarely get weather like we got on Tuesday.
So many people have been mad at the weathermen/women for missing the mark and the school superintendents not canceling school. In our neck of the woods, the people who hold these jobs are in a tough situation. First of all, is it really possible to forecast snow accurately? In the last several years the weather forecasters have predicted snow…. We raid the stores for milk and bread. (I have no idea why? I would be wanting chips, dip, cookies, soup and ice cream….) Our school superintendents cancel school. Everyone changes their schedule, parents find sitters or have to take a sick day or vacation day from work. Or even take a day without pay. Then there is no snow or we get a “dusting”. We have shut down the metro area for …. nothing. Then everyone gets mad at our school superintendents and the weather forecasters. They are in a catch 22 situation!
I bet there are going to be some policies and procedures put in place where we will get the occasional “free day” because there is a possibility that “snow” is in the forecast. At least I hope so! We do not need to have another day like Tuesday! But let me tell you about that day.
I had an early appointment downtown on Tuesday morning. When I left, about 10:15 there was a “dusting”. I made it to my favorite coffee shop, O’Henerys, at Brookwood Mall. In a matter of minutes, the “dusting” looked like this!
As you can see, the snow is not melting. Perhaps that is why it seemed like it came on so fast! Glad that I got a cuppa and a pastry. Because the next 6.5 hours it was like this…
Many people started pulling their cars to the side of the road, got out and started walking. Here is a man with his beer and milk….
All this time I am trying to get to my daughter and my husband is trying to get to me. He ended up parking his car in a parking lot and started walking. Now a kind soul in a 4 wheel drive picked him up and they traveled a ways together. When the traffic stopped again. My sweet husband got out and started walking. Some time later, the kind soul picks him up again! And takes him a few more miles. We estimated that the gentleman took at least 3 miles off Ed’s trek. Ed walked at least 10 out of the 13-14 miles he had to go to get to me.
The main way to our house and the school was blocked by a big truck and 20 cars piled up. So we decided to try going through a nearby neighborhood.
And this is what we encountered (from the opposite direction. This photo was taken the next day). People had gone as far as they could go and had to abandon their cars. We did likewise. But, we wanted my car off the road (the white accord off to the left by the tree.) So I backed up and found a place to pull my car off the road.
We thought we could make the next 2-3 miles on foot. My husband could have, but I could not. By now it is getting dark. It is cold, windy and we were not dressed for this weather. We knocked on the door of some friends and Praise the Lord, they were home. Took us in, got us warm and gave us a place to stay.
Our whole community pulled together! Strangers helping strangers. I of course was near frantic trying to get to the school to get our daughter. It was taking hours! So thankful for cell phones and texting. We were all able to keep in touch with each other constantly (group text) so we knew what was going on with each of us. One of my daughter’s dear friends dad pick our daughter up when he picked up his girls. They went to our church. And stayed there for at least 24 hours. Our church opened up as a shelter. So well planned! Hot beverages, meals, a place to sleep and to get warm. There were charging stations set up to plug in your device for charging, rooms set for families with preschoolers and appropriate entertainment for them. The gym was opened up to play ball, a large screen was set up so people could watch our round the clock coverage. Churches were set up like this all over the area. Restaurants were open offering hot tea, coffee, chocolate and food free of charge to anyone who needed it. Target and Home Depot serving food and hot beverages as well. People getting out to move vehicles, offer rides and help where ever they can. Teachers, school support personal and lunch room ladies stayed at the schools…. Oh yes, most parents could not get to the schools to get their children. And the buses… Most could not leave and many buses got stranded. Thousands of children had to spend the night at school. The children left at school were well taken care of. Fed well, supervised and had a “slumber party”! One of our elementary schools had teachers who set up “tracks” in the lunch room for guinea pig races. How fun is that!
Things are getting back to normal now. I love how I have seen God work through our community, our church and our friends from church. I am blessed for friends who took care of our daughter. I am blessed for friends who took us in and took care of us. I am blessed to be in a community where people are kind and willing to work together to make the best out of a bad situation. And go easy on the weather forecasters and the school superintendents.