Now is not the time to lob arrows at trained weather forecasters who assured us Tuesday’s storm would have little impact in this part of the state. That criticism will come soon, and it will be intense.
Instead, now is the time to praise our neighbors who became snowy Good Samaritans during a true time of need. There simply is not enough space in this newspaper to credit everyone who lent a helping hand to the cold, the stranded, the young, the infirm and the hungry. In that respect, Tuesday was a sight to behold.
We expect our law enforcement and National Guard to rise to occasion, which they did en masse. Police and sheriff’s departments in Calhoun and surrounding counties bundled up to help with myriad troubles, most notably the indescribable traffic that snarled many roads, especially main thoroughfares and those with icy, impassable hills. Guardsmen in uniform directed traffic at key intersections. As afternoon turned to night, those officers and soldiers worked with cities and schools to deliver stranded students to their homes.
We thank them all.
But most heartwarming were the untold number of Alabamians — those who wear no uniforms — who spent Tuesday assisting others.
The men who shivered for hours pushing cars up and over the icy hills — on Alabama 21 in different parts of Calhoun County, and on Noble Street, 10th Street and Greenbrier Dear Road in Anniston, on streets small and large. It was dangerous work.
The teachers, principals and staff of virtually every school, public and private, in our part of the state. Their dedication to the students’ safety was impressive.
The churches who, with no prodding, opened warming stations for those in need.
Who’d we leave out? Many. Suffice it to say that Alabamians helped Alabamians in a true time of crisis, the definition of a civil emergency.
As time passes, these mega-storms take on lives of their own. We don’t forget them, whether they are winter storms of snow and ice or severe-weather outbreaks that like of April 2011. How could we? As winter storms go, chief among them for many of us is the Blizzard of 1993, which shut down the Deep South for days that March. Tales of being snowed in at work and digging out of our homes are retold with pride.
Snowpocalypse 2014 will join these storms in our memories. Recollections of hours-long commutes home won’t be forgotten. We’ll tell friends how we abandoned our cars on icy roads and walked home in freezing temperatures. Yes, some of us slept anywhere we could lay down our heads — at work, in our cars —because we had no other choice.
At times like this, when we see Alabamian helping Alabamian, we realize how important it is to see one another, despite our differences, as friends and neighbors. We are in this together.