Today should be a wake up call for people in North Carolina. Our state government’s solution to an impending snow and ice storm was to brine the roads. Unfortunately, the brine only melted the snow which quickly turned to ice covered by snow. Within one hour, I-40 in Raleigh was covered by snow. And not one snowplow was seen even though traffic was moving about 20 mph at that time. My normal 15 minute commute took 2-1/4 hours. Once the exit ramps closed due to accidents and abandoned cars, the main arteries were doomed.
1. No one could have foreseen the rapid accumulation of snow in a two hour period. But snow plows should have been out on I-40 and US 1.
2. The police had no communication with the DOT. I was within 1 mile of my house when abandoned cars and accidents blocked the bridge ahead. I turned around to backtrack and saw a sheriff’s car sitting in the same lane from which I had just turned. I stopped and asked him if the bridge ahead would be cleared. He did not know that the bridge was closed due to accidents and abandoned cars. I assume that he turned around at some point.
3. My local talk radio station continued to play Rush Limbaugh instead of issuing traffic reports. I did not hear one traffic report during my “commute” home.
4. As in the ice storm ten years ago, cell phone communication was quickly overloaded. I could not communicate or coordinate with my family.
5. Once I got home, my son told me that his car was parked at a gas station 5 miles away and his family car was abandoned halfway up a hill about 2 miles away. Someone had given him and his family a ride to our house. We went out to get his car with my four wheel drive. This is when I realized that this was just a preview of our future.
a. The Good: people were out helping cars up hills and pulling them out of ditches.
b. The Bad: I was actually warned by a women driving in another direction to not continue down Penny Road in Raleigh. Her warning was not about road conditions but the people. When were you ever warned to stay away from people for you own safety?
In our subdivision, traffic was stopped by two trucks going in opposite directions for over five minutes as the drivers had a conversation. A man in back of me walked up to them to have one move to allow traffic to continue and they did not listen. I walked up and asked what the problem was. Which brought about an angry response by the one driver (both were outside standing in between their cars). I asked again what the problem was and want kind of help did they need. At that point, the other man got into his truck and left. As the line of cars passed the still stopped truck, I stopped and told him to follow me to my house and I would help him.
His problem was that he lived about five miles away and did not know how to get home. He had no maps and did not know any alternate routes to his house. I gave him directions as his wife, baby and dog stayed in the car. But the truly scary part was the expression on his face. Once he realized that he had no idea how to get home (solve a problem), his mind stopped working. I had to repeat simple directions in order for him to comprehend them. And I do mean simple directions.
What will happen when this man has no food and his family is starving?