January 30, 2014
We’re guessing that some of you were surprised when the freezing rain started at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday — and even more shocked when you looked out of your windows late that night, or early the next morning, to find a coating of white over your lawn furniture, an ice slick for a front porch, and a car door that may have required a little prying to open.
Residents of Scotland County, like most folks in the South, are always skeptical when meteorologists sitting behind desks in climate-controlled offices, news anchors standing in suits in front of television green screens or the staff of four at their small-town newspaper report that snow is certain to fall in their hometown. So skeptical, in fact, that one reader doubted Tuesday’s headline of “Snow certain for Scotland County” enough to pen the following in an email: “you have done the Laurinburg equivalent of ‘Dewey Defeats Truman.’”
We admit, by about 3 p.m. that day we were a little less confident in the predictions that had dominated evening weather reports for nearly two weeks. With the more than 60 years combined that our staff has spent in North Carolina, we knew such a headline was a risky move, and that when it comes to weather in this state, little is certain. But we stuck to our guns, and lucky for us, no crow was consumed by any of our staff. True to North Carolina fashion, a week that started off on Monday with 66 degrees and sunshine plummeted to a low temperature in the teens by Tuesday night as snow and sleet continued to fall.
More good fortune came with the lack of injuries caused by drivers taking on the icy roads. Schools and businesses were closed, and some remained closed Thursday as others operated on delayed schedules. If not for that planning, there surely would have been motorists unaccustomed to driving on frosted asphalt risking their own lives and the lives of others to get to school, work, or a doctor’s appointment.
Sure, Northerners — or as they’re known in these parts, Yankees — can make fun of us for shutting everything down when it snows. They can make fun of the gridlock in Atlanta. They can make fun of the fact that we run to the store to clear shelves of bread, milk and eggs. The simple fact is, we hardly see such weather, and we are unprepared for it.
We would like to plop someone who is used to spending their summers in a dry 70-degree heat into Laurinburg in the middle of August and see if they can handle the weather that we see as normal. We suspect they would be calling on Gov. Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency.