Friday, January 25, 2013

That Winter Weather

As pellets of ice begin to drop from the sky, I have to wonder about the sanity of whoever's calling the shots regarding snow days out here. Last week, if you recall, a snow day was called on Thursday night due to the possibility of snow. And snow it did, but the amount we got was laughable (and the roads were bone dry by mid-morning). Granted, things were pretty slick when we first got up at the crack of dawn to play in the "snow," so I gained a little understanding of how southern snowstorms could be dangerous—everything turns into ice.

Today school is still in session, though they'll be releasing the kids early, hopefully before the worst of it hits. It's not supposed to really start storming until between noon and two. They're letting kids out at 12:30. This storm is supposed to be a big one.

So I just wonder why on an actual stormy day the kids are still going to school, whereas on a sunny, calm, post-storm, de-iced day school was cancelled...all day. I don't know. It seems like a bad call to me. If I were the one making the shots I'd have done a two-hour delay for last week (which still leaves the option to cancel school) for sure. As for today, I'm thinking, for the most part, that having a half-day is a good call...but we'll see how stormy it gets before Rachel gets home.

It might be a little unfair for me to make these calls with hindsight before me. I imagine it's a difficult decision to make.

I'm not sure how this storm will be. They just had an ice storm in Utah and I saw videos of kids ice skating on the BYU campus sidewalks. I brought my ice skates out here (but I think we left the kid ice skates at my mom's house (if the roads are ice-skatable Rachel will never forgive me)) so that could be fun to try. We used to do that on icy roads when we lived in Canada—though usually just in our boots (I don't recall ever doing it in skates).

I'm interested to see what an ice storm is like...though the prospect of being without power for a week is daunting (our home teacher lives up the street and has a generator and has invited us to spend some time over there if needed though).

For now we're preparing every needful thing:

  • went grocery shopping yesterday
  • got ice melt and batteries
  • filled the car with gas
  • located all the flashlights
  • am doing all the laundry (including the diapers (we can last 3 days on the NB size but can start using the bigger sizes I have stored away if we need to; we also have a package of disposables on hand just in case)
  • charged our phones
  • I might vacuum (but maybe not since I'm typing this one-handed while nursing Benjamin, who has decided it's nap time)
  • I'll be picking up Rachel at the busstop 3 hours early, along with one of the neighbour boys
  • I gave our neighbour's cat extra food and water this morning in case I can't get up to their house this evening (their yard is quite steep)
We should be ready to go...if the power does get knocked out and we can't get anywhere warm I think we'll pretend we're acting out a Laura Ingalls story. That will keep the girls happy.

Here's the email we got from the bishopric:

To All New North Carolinians (and Veterans too),

We are under a winter weather advisory and for those who have not lived through one, an ice storm can take out electricity for anywhere up to a week. To be prepared for the coming storm you may want to:

1. Fill your car with gas - if there is no heat you can always warm up in the car for a few minutes.

2. Before the storm, do anything that requires electricity - laundry, vacuuming, charging electronic devices and cell phones.

3. Get enough food to last a week. Milk, bread and eggs disappear quickly from the grocery stores when a storm is coming.

4. If you have a baby be sure to stock up on diapers, formula, food, etc.

5. You may want to get some ice melt or gravel.

6. If you are out driving keep food, water and blankets in the car and cell phones charged.

7. If you don't have to go out don't. The roads will be dangerous. Remember, an ice storm is very different from a snow storm. Even the best 4 wheel drive vehicle is useless on ice.

If you have questions ask your Home Teachers or get on Facebook and ask friends who have been here.

The Bishopric

And from the Relief Society president:

I'm forwarding this information from the Bishopric, in case there are those of you who aren't on the ward's email list.  I would also add to make a list of numbers of folks...home teachers, visiting teachers, friends, etc....that you can call if you need help or want to check in on anyone (in case you use online the ward directory like I do).  I realize many of you have lived in snowy, cold areas, but our ice storms are way different. If the trees and power lines collect a lot of ice, there is a good chance that power lines can be damaged by heavy, falling limbs.  If the power goes out, it can be very troublesome, so these preparation ideas from the Bishopric are very important. At one of our last huge ice storms, we didn't have power for six days. And although the road situation seems silly to you experienced winter drivers,  the roads here get super sketchy cause usually it isn't snow, but ice. 

Hopefully all of this is a moot point, but if not, stay home and drink hot cocoa and enjoy being with your families!  :)

And from the National Weather Service:

... Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect from noon Friday to
midnight EST Friday night... 

* locations... central North Carolina excluding the far southeast 

* Hazard types... snow... freezing rain... freezing drizzle and a 
little sleet. 

* Ice accumulations... a 0.10 to 0.15 of an inch possible across 
the central Piedmont extending northeastward into the northern 
coastal plain. 

* Snow accumulations... a half to an inch across the northern 
Piedmont... mainly north of Highway 64 with the highest totals 
occurring from The Triad to the Virginia border. 

* Sleet accumulation... a quarter of an inch or less... mainly 
across the far northern Piedmont. 

* Timing... precipitation is likely to develop across the western 
Piedmont by early afternoon... then spread eastward... reaching 
the coastal plain by late afternoon. The bulk of precipitation 
will occur between 2 PM and 9 PM. 

* Impacts... snow and ice accrual will lead to slick roadways... 
especially on bridges and overpasses... creating hazardous 
driving conditions. This will have an impact on the evening 
rush hour. Exposed outdoor objects such as fences... power- 
lines... and tree limbs will gain a thin coat of ice. This ice 
accretion may cause weakened or diseased tree limbs to break 
off. Sidewalks and steps leading to buildings will quickly 
become slick and hazardous. 

* Temperatures... once the precipitation starts... temperatures 
will fall and remain below freezing until late Saturday 
morning. Thus... what accumulates on the roadways will remain 
on the roads through Saturday morning. 

Precautionary/preparedness actions... 

A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow... sleet... or
freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for
slippery roads and limited visibilities... and use caution while


  1. I sometimes wonder if the people who make these decisions are influenced by people such as yourself. Those who scoff at their closing school last week so they don't want to be laughed at again ... thus they have school on a day that starts out with sleet. Because I've wondered this, too. :)

    Good to know you are prepared. A few years ago we lost power due to ice. I still remember waking up and hearing popping noises. Thankfully we got our power within a day.

  2. I think the weather just has it in for the predictors of the world. If they predict a terrible storm, then there won't be may storm, but not terribly. If they predict good weather, then it will storm. The weather does not like to be beholden to any human. :o)

  3. We had a delay this morning. Not gonna lie, I loved it, and the roads were fine by the time I came in to work.

    There was an ice storm in Texas once where we were sent home from church (one of our counselors in the bishopric was a local TV weatherman) and then we lost power until Thursday. No school for three days. We just camped out together in our living room, directing heat from the gas heater in the bathroom in the hall and closing all other doors. It was fun! For us kids anyway, not sure how my parents felt about it.