This week something unusual happened here in Raleigh, NC: a full-blown snowstorm. Normally in our region, we get a bit of snow and ice, schools will close, businesses will be delayed, and kids get to enjoy a bit of sledding fun. In general, though, things melt away fairly quickly. In less than a day, it’s back to normal operations.
So, when the reports of snow and ice had started again, we watched with mild curiosity. As the event got closer, the reports became more intense. And then, Michael Musher, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, was quoted as saying “this is a mind-boggling, if not historic event” and continued to share that it could be “potentially catastrophic.”
Our individual anxiety levels became elevated but general public panic seemed subdued. Businesses were not closing, grocery stores didn’t seem necessarily flooded. Right up to the last moments, people were just going about their normal day.
That quickly changed. The storm hit fast. Snow accumulated quickly. Traffic was brought to a halt and gridlock ensued for hours. On my drive home, the roads went from dry to completely covered in less than 20 minutes. Within a few short hours, people had to abandon their cars and walk. Vehicles slid, skidded, bumped, crashed, and one even caught fire. Several intense moments left me shaking, but I made it home safe.
But stories of Good Samaritans prevailed! My good friend, Lisa Sullivan, shared that her husband had to ditch his car. A family picked him up and drove him about a mile. He walked 5 more miles before a family friend picked him up and drove him the rest of the way home. All in all, a 3 1/2 hour adventure. More stories of people jumping out of their cars to help push those who were stuck, others driving around to pick up walkers or tow vehicles out of ditches graced the airwaves… “Kindness Amid Chaos,” they said. What inspiration!
But once it seemed that most everyone way home safe and sound, humorous photos started to circulate the next day. The most famous was a frightening photo of Glenwood Avenue taken by Lindsay Webb: cars could just not make it up the hill and one engine burst into flames. Locals started speculating on the origin of the turmoil with memes…
Tweets abounded with hashtags of #snowpocalypse, #snowmaggedon, #snOMG, and #CabinFever…
Everybody pause Netflix for just a minute please: I have some TPS reports to submit. You guys are slowing down the internet. #snowpocalypse
— James Willamor (@JamesWillamor) February 13, 2014
Not feeling it quite yet, but I just know I’m going to have a raging case of #CabinFever by the end of the day! #snowmageddon
— Amy G. H. (@amgenove) February 13, 2014
People really underestimate the need to stock up on toilet paper before #SnOMG
— Will Hardison (@willhardison) February 12, 2014
The snow was also the inspiration for a hilarious video by local celeb Penn Holderness. After some friendly twitter banter between Penn and the Wake County Public School System, he created this fantastic video that really captures the true feeling of parents everywhere when schools are cancelled for a snow day…
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with the quite obvious thoughts of my dog this morning…
Stay safe, everyone. And after this is all over… oh, the stories we will have to tell!