Thanks to those who help us through the winter storms

Published 9:06 am Friday, January 19, 2024

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Well, winter finally arrived in a full-blown package of wind, snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, and, of course, snow-covered roads. Snow can be challenging if we’re not prepared.
This week’s winter storm showed us how we have had it much too easy this winter.
Suddenly, there was too much snow in the driveway to get through without getting stuck. Snow blowers and shovels had to come out, along with heavy gloves and snow pants. We were forced to change plans and activities. We had to stay cooped up at home; some even were unable to get into work.
Because of this winter’s scarcity of snow, it was easy to forget about all those who help us through the storm:
The weather forecasters who give us advance notice that bad weather is on the way. Law enforcement officers and dispatchers who keep watch on the roads, issue travel warnings and respond to the emergencies that the snowfall brings. Ambulance personnel who still have to stabilize sick or injured people and get them to the hospital, no matter what the weather is like. The snow removal crews who are out sanding the slippery spots and moving mountains of snow to make the roads passable again. The tow truck drivers who venture out in all kinds of miserable weather to pull people out of the ditch or assist at a crash site. Residents who shovel out the sidewalks by their home so others can get where they need to go without having to venture out on the busy streets. And lastly, all those who heed the warnings and stay put when bad weather strikes and are careful when venturing out in the aftermath.
We need to be thankful for our snow plow operators – city, county, and state – who are out there day and night keeping our roads and city streets maintained for our safe travels following a winter storm such as this week. The weather conditions and times they work are not always ideal, but their efforts are truly appreciated, especially when they do some preparations early such as using salt brine on the roads before the snow and ice come.
The storm that hit Monday and Tuesday came fast and even with city, county and Tennessee Department of Transportation crews working to clean up roads, trouble spots emerged in Hampton, Roan Mountain, and Butler as well as here in Elizabethton. When driving, we urge you to make time in your schedule for unexpected detours or road conditions that are quickly deteriorating.
As motorists, try to be safe, and be patient with other drivers. The goal for all motorists is to arrive safely at their destinations. Increase your following distance and slow down. Posted speed limits on any road are for ideal, dry conditions of the roadway, and winter’s snow and ice are not ideal driving conditions for any roadway.
Often snow removal is a thankless task. Residents get angry that their streets haven’t been plowed, or haven’t been plowed enough, or haven’t been plowed effectively enough. They’re angry about snowpiles in the wrong places or sidewalks left uncleared.
Some people just don’t like snow. Some are just plain sick of shoveling, and some are just too cold to shovel or get out in the weather. For the past few winters we’ve had very little snow and very few zero degree days, so we aren’t used to wintry weather like that of the past week.
Instead of dwelling on your snow-covered road and the cold temperatures, try considering the accomplishments of our local highway department, snow plow operators, and so many others helping to keep our communities moving, such as the men who pick up the garbage.
Many workers put in double and triple shifts through the heart of the storm and still need to return to duty soon thereafter. In some places the snow was coming down so hard and fast that roads were often covered a half hour after being plowed.
Our snow plow operators deserve a lot more credit for what they do than they often receive.
You can bet when the snow comes, they’ll be out working to clear the roads so that you and I can get to where we need to be.
Despite it all, in Elizabethton and Carter County we came through the cold and snow just fine. Let’s continue on that path the rest of the winter, which hopefully will be a little warmer and kinder.

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