Wednesday, January 7, 2004
As the snow falls
It's been a long time since our area has seen a real winter blast where the snow keeps coming for more than a day or two. Most of us have gotten pretty used to having snow in the morning, and then by the end of the day it's turned to rain.
In fact, the last heavy snowfall here -- when we got a foot or more -- came in January 1998. Before that, it seems like it was 1995-96. In recent years, it has seemed like our winters have been pretty mild. Yet with the recent droughts and lack of snow pack, this latest storm is a welcome event.
And despite the headaches it causes, it sure is pretty to see all the snow. In fact, we were pretty fortunate with the timing of this storm. It held off until after Christmas, but hit heavy when local school kids were off anyway for the two-week holiday break. The weather was severe enough that probably a day or two or three of school would have had to be canceled, possibly meaning the school year would have had to be extended later in June. That's still a possibility, of course, but at least the timing helped minimize the impact.
Right now, that controversial two-day built-in snow day for the school district looks like it was a pretty wise move.
As the snow falls, thanks go to the public works departments of Bingen and White Salmon, and the state and county road departments. Those guys have been on call, and have been working on Sundays and on New Year's Day, to keep area roads plowed and sanded. Same goes for the utility crews, who tirelessly run back and forth to solve power outages and make sure people have electricity to heat and light their homes.
We're appreciative too of the police officers on patrol. At times, they've been swamped with having to respond to calls of numerous cars in ditches. They respond to make sure no one has been injured, and to help make sure no other motorists plow into someone who's gotten stuck.
That's one good argument for staying off the roads when there is no true necessity to be out there. Added traffic inevitably leads to more problems, keeping law enforcement running here and there to clean up the messes.
If it's not an emergency and if you don;'t have to get to work, just stay off the roads and take it easy. Take some pictures and enjoy it, or build a snow fort or snowman with your kids. Who knows when we'll see this much snow again!