Heeding the Warnings

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I started this off with what I think is a statement photograph. I love the way the battle of the grayish-blue and orange sunrise above looks against the deadness of the tree in the foreground, and the light of the snow below. It’s times like what we’ve experienced over the past few days that I wish I owned a “real” camera. There’s only “so” much that a smart phone camera can truly capture. In spite of that, the beauty carved out of the weather systems we’ve had this past week was definitely worth capturing the every changing moments of snow, ice, and rain that alternated their covered of our city this February.

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But in spite of its beauty, snow, and especially ice, can be dangerous, and also wreak havoc on things like overhead power lines and underground water pipes. That’s why I believe it’s so important to heed the warnings by making plans to prepare accordingly.

Okay, yeah, our local meteorologists are known for over-stating storm predictions; especially winter storms. But once I heard the weather forecast also from the national weather service, I knew I needed to take it seriously. Yep, I’m one of those people who takes a survey of my kitchen’s pantry and refrigerator, and makes a mental list of what kind of things I would want in my house should one of two things happen — and heaven forbid they both do. First, if the forecast turned out to be true…then there would be driving issues, not to mention the cold temperatures that would both make me want to stay in the house. And second, if the forecast proved worse, then there might be other complications, such as the loss of power.

Such was the case for many parts of Nashville this week. The only thing the locals were wrong about was the snow, because instead of snow, we got ice — lots of ice! And then, down went some power lines. I was one of the people who lost power — in the middle of temperatures in the low 20s, with projections of decreasing down to the single digits. Fortunately for me, mine was out for less than two hours. Also fortunately, despite the social media (and even traditional media) jokes about raiding the grocery store aisles, I’d done just that. I’d purchased items that didn’t require electricity to prepare and eat. Judging by comments on Facebook, there were those who didn’t; and they were miserable by day three of this mess.

The other thing I was prepared for was the loss of power. I try to stay prepared for that year-round — making sure there’s blankets, flashlights, candles and matches in every bedroom. I didn’t have to worry about running through the house, bumping in to things trying to find a flashlight. I even keep one in the kitchen. I also already had a plan in place for my devices. I kept my laptop plugged up at all times, so it was fully charged when the lights went out. And I had a car charger for my phone, so a trip to the garage if needed, was not out of the question; especially since I made sure my car was fully gassed up beforehand as well.

Within hours of regaining my power, I read a friend’s post that they had just lost theirs. What surprised me was her second statement after announcing in disbelief that they were without power:  “Oh no, we weren’t prepared for something like this!” is what she said. My first thought was, “How can you not be prepared? We were warned days out that it was coming!” I felt for her though, and her family; and was glad to learn that hers came back on within hours as well.

But it made me think again, how weird it is that people seem almost apologetically embarrassed to prepare for things such as this. A week out, the snow storm was projected; days out, the radar showed it was coming. But once it got here, and it was as bad as projected, there were those people who still “weren’t prepared for something like this.”

The way I look at it, I don’t care if I go shopping and nothing happens. I figure I win either way. If the weather service is correct, then I’m stocked up and prepared to be stuck in the house for days — even ready for the loss of power, should it happen. If they’re wrong, what’s the worse? So you have a fully stocked pantry and won’t need to go shopping for another week. It’s a win-win!

So my advice is, as it has always been. Being prepared for something you don’t need is way better than needing something you’re not prepared for. And it can oftentimes be a lot more costly waiting and having to play catch up later.

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One last thing. A different facebook friend made fun of my reposting the mayor’s office suggestion of leaving the water faucet dripping to avoid possible pipe freezing. Actually, he was making fun of the water department and suggested a conspiracy in them getting more money by everyone running their faucets all week. Of course, my snarky remark back is that it’s far cheaper to drip the faucet now than to have to replace the water pipes later; not to mention any damage that water may cause inside the home.

So yeah. I believe warnings are made for a reason. And I don’t mind heeding the ones that make sense and don’t cost me anything more to accomplish.

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