I spent my holidays in my hometown, hanging out with family, and a few good friends, as well as taking some much-needed time just being away by myself. It was a nice few weeks that I’m blessed to be able to take advantage of, given my profession, and not having to return to the office until January. I had planned to stay in town until January 7.
When the weather forecast called for snow back home, I chuckled a bit. After all, this was Nashville, and we seldom saw any snow before February, IF we were to get any at all. And in fairness to the local meteorologists, they indicated that it wouldn’t stick, or hang around because of how warm the temperatures had been for several days prior. And by warm, I mean holiday temperatures in the 60s.
Several friends were surprised to look outside that Sunday night to see the light dusting of snow. It really came. But just as predicted, it didn’t stick around for long. Things ran “normal” that Monday morning.
That same day, however, those same meteorologists began talking more seriously about a new system. A snow event that would hit on January 6 and was predicated to stick and stay since the temperatures had dropped and would continue dropping throughout the week.
So I began to monitor the situation, which was also being talked about by the national weather people. It was no longer that Nashville may get snow; but everyone seemed 100 percent certain that it would get several inches of snow, including the surrounding counties along the route I would need to drive home.
So I had to make a decision. I could stick to my original plan of staying where I was for two more days, and driving back on January 7, the day after a predicted snow. Or I could change my plans, give up the additional vacation days, and return home a day ahead of the snow.
I chose to drive back on January 5.
Before I left for my 450+ mile drive back, I placed a curbside order with a local grocery store to pick up once I returned. I knew that by the time I got back, I’d need more gas, so I planned to fill up
By the time I arrived back in Tennessee, the local forecasters were more certain that not only would we get the snow, but that it wouldn’t be like Sunday’s event, which was pretty to see, but made no real impact. The projected snow for would be a few inches, which for a southern city is significant since there are fewer salt trucks to handle the interstates, and hardly anyone with snow tires for side roads, or snow shovels for sidewalks and driveways. It’s just not a necessary thing in the south.
But having groceries, a working flashlight, an alternate heat source, if possible, and extra water put aside in case the pipes freeze, were necessities. While snow doesn’t find its way into many southern states on a regular basis, Tennessee is known to have a few freezing rain and ice events this time of year.
The next morning I admit that I was a little disappointed when I awoke to cold temperatures, but not even a dusting of the white stuff. But the meteorologists weren’t backing away from their forecast. So I decided to take a long, hot bath, brewed some coffee, and then made sure my tea kettle and water pitchers were both filled.
Just an hour later I went to the window expecting to still see clear streets and green grass, as I had earlier in the morning. But just like that, there was a blanket of snow on the ground. And checking both the local and national weather services, they had adjusted the predicted snowfall from 1-2 inches to predicting up to 3-4.
In reality, many places throughout middle Tennessee, including where I live, received 6-8 inches of accumulated snow, followed by a drop in temperatures into the teens that night, and the single digits the following night.
I was, of course, happy to have followed my instinct to change my travel plans and return early; pick up groceries and fill my gas tank. It still makes me roll my eyes reading social media posts from people showing up at grocery stores during or even after inclement weather, complaining about the empty shelves – regular milk, favorite bread, snacks and other treats already picked over. What humors me is some people’s audacity to be mad at other people who prepared in advance for the storm, and did their shopping. Whether they “need” that extra loaf of bread or gallon of milk is their business; it’s their household. But with so many 24-hour stores, it’s hard for me to sympathize with most other people who don’t make the effort to plan for themselves; especially when the forecast gives a full week’s notice about the coming weather.
Cancelled entertainment events, school and workplace closings and hazardous driving conditions are more reasons to make a habit of preparing for disruptions in your regular routine. And food is just one of those things. Planning ahead for possible power outages or water disruption, or simply preparing for how you’ll spend your time if you end up shut in your house for multiple days, are all important things to consider.
Keep phones, computers, tablets, and other devices fully charged. Be sure to check batteries in all flashlights. Fill up extra pitchers with water, keep blankets handy, and gather candles and matches. You may end up needing none of these preparations. Or you might find yourself in a situation wishing you had done them.
Snow is pretty to look at, play in, take pictures of. But driving in it, especially in the south? Not so much!
Even as I write this, the national forecast is for another snow storm that’s currently moving across the midwest, with eyes once again on parts of the south, including my area. The question for today is, how many people who found themselves unprepared for last week’s snow and freezing temperatures, are making plans now to get ahead of this weekend’s prediction of the same?
Don’t be that person.