I just got off the phone with my wife. She spent the night stuck at work. She slept on the floor of her office with the tablecloth from their break room to keep her warm. She is one of 16 people where she works who did not make it home yesterday. My daughter walked from her office to a friend’s apartment where she spent the night. She was one of six people there and slept on the floor. Both safe and warm. I work from home, and after seeing the snow begin to fall, I stopped by the house for a conference call and never left.
Yesterday was a disaster. Snow was forecast for the area south of us. Snow started falling about 10:30 and did not let up until 4:00 or so – a short period of time really. The fact that the metro Birmingham area was unprepared for this winter weather meant that unsuspecting people went to work thinking Tuesday would be a mostly normal day. It wasn’t. It became a mad dash to get home and the roads quickly became treacherous. Accidents started happening and a lot of people spent many hours trying getting home. I heard stories of people who worked for six hours just to get home, and it was work.
Multiple area schools were caught by surprise and students had to spend the night at their schools. The interstate highways around Birmingham became clogged with cars, multiple lanes of cars. Wrecks were everywhere, people abandoned their cars and walked searching for warmth. The City of Hoover alone transported 600 people to warming stations. The lines of cars with people desperately trying to get home continued into the night.
We just don’t get crippling snow very often. Local governments are not equipped to deal with this, especially when it is a surprise. Today the problems are ice and cars. Many roads are barely passable because of ice and the many abandoned cars which are literally blocking the roadway. My daughter’s car is one of those abandoned, parked along the road near her office.
The forecast today is sunny but the high will not get above freezing. Our only hope is the sunshine will make the roads more passable and my wife and daughter make it home. Anybody have a four-wheel drive vehicle I can borrow? The overnight low will be about 9 degrees, so most likely we will still be dealing with this tomorrow too. Wish us luck; we will need it.