Last week, a few inches of snow brought life to a screeching halt in Atlanta, Ga. School children and motorists were stranded on interstate highways. Why? Snow and ice are rarely part of the winter landscape in the southeast. The citizens of Atlanta were caught off-guard and unprepared.
I realized the Crescenta Valley could easily be faced with a similar predicament. What if one cold and cloudy January morning the forecast calls for rain, snow in the lower elevations, and below normal temperatures. Included is breaking news … Winter Storm Warning.
8 a.m. Off we go to work, school, run errands, or get coffee. The rain begins to fall as you hop on the 210 Freeway. No problem; there is an umbrella in here somewhere and the kids are snug in their classrooms. Within a short time – 90 minutes or so – temperatures drop and the rain turns to snow or hail. Schools decide to call a “snow day.” Parents and bus drivers alike make a beeline to pick up the kids. By noon, gridlock. In Atlanta, it was on the I285 and here, perhaps the 210.
Avoidable? Well, we all know what is said about hindsight. Would La Crescenta have handled the situation any differently? The answer comes in the form of a few questions.
Does it frequently snow in La Crescenta? Where are the snowplows kept? Do you have snow tires or chains? How about those bags of salt?
With still many questions unasked, in addition to the answers to these, it appears that we are not prepared.
Preparation does not need to be elaborate. The “simple bare necessities” will suffice. The following is a compilation from many sources, including common sense.*
- Gas (half tank at least)
- Protein bars (watch expiration dates)
- Fleece blankets
- Trash bags (many uses)
- Cell phone and charger
- Radio & LED flashlight
- Dog leash
- Red bandana (for antenna)
(Consider baby and medical supplies, if necessary.)
Placed in a large backpack or duffle bag, the above items are much easier to store and carry.
*The above does not replace the need for a full emergency kit.
Rain, thus far, not too impressive, but Thursday evening into Friday we have a 70% chance of “not much.” A slight, gradual warming with a mix of sun and clouds are on the weather menu for the weekend.
Beautiful days continue into next week although meteorologists hint of rain.
Days of sunshine and rain; enjoy and be prepared for both!
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.