Winter Storm Leon: Preparing for Events that Never Happen


Two inches of snow fell in parts of the south, and as a result, many of residents of the southern United States endured the worst weather-related catastrophe they had ever witnessed.

Icy, slippery roads made driving dangerous; cars slid into ditches, guardrails and other cars. Vehicles fish-tailed, swerved, glided and careened; some flew and crashed. Bumpers were put to good use as cars pushed each other into intersections after failing to stop.

Hills; often taken for granted in normal conditions, became icy mountains: Impossible to climb in a 2-wheel drive car, and very tricky by foot (unless a motorist had packed his or her snow boots in the trunk).

Mayors, Governors and other officials apologized and explained; they had failed to plan. School busses couldn’t drive safely, so hundreds of children were stranded at school. Workers left early; all the workers, so rush hour commenced early, but not early enough for motorists to avoid the ice.

Northeastern and Midwesterners scoffed. How could a mere two inches of snow and a few frozen highways bring an entire region to its knees? Where were the salt trucks? Where were the snow plows?

Expecting snow in the South is similar to expecting to see the real Santa Claus on Christmas Eve: You’ve heard it could happen, but you’re pretty sure it won’t; and if you do see him, you’ll always wonder if it was really him.

Southern people who speak of snow are often told, “That wasn’t real snow.” Another version of this idea is, “It was just a few flurries.” Yet another snow-denial phrase: “It didn’t even stick.” Some Southern environments are close to being tropical. Winter Storm Leon proves that even Hawaii needs salt trucks at the ready. Why? Because even though it rarely snows in Hawaii, it’s still wise to make sure Hawaii is prepared for snow. It’s always wise to prepare for things that might never happen!

It seems the mayors and governors rolled the dice, betting against Mother Nature. Can we blame them? Of course we can, and we did. They should have known Winter Storm Leon would be The One. They should have dropped salt on the roads before ever seeing a snowflake. Why? Because anything’s possible.

So the next time we all hear about salt trucks preparing Atlanta or Birmingham’s highways for flurries, a light dusting, or a snow that won’t even stick, let’s all be glad. Because even the highly unlikely is still possible. Be prepared.