Monday, November 19, 2018

November Storm

I was recently telling someone that I really enjoy sitting at the computer, watching the snow fall, and taking it easy-- especially if I have no reason to leave the warmth of my home.  Believe me, I just learned it's not all it's cracked up to me.

I will start by saying that my little storm experience pales in comparison to those who had to be out in, and travel in, Thursday's storm.

Thursday is one of my days off.  I was set on the basic food groups, so this storm wasn't going to bother me.  Hey, it was supposed to be only a few inches.  That's a dusting in our area.  We can handle this.  Easy.

Apologies to my meteorological friends, but you missed this one.  A dusting turned in to a foot pretty fast. I know.  It happens.  Meteorology is an inexact science.  The storm packed a lot of moisture.  It stayed cold longer than anticipated.  The word "outperformed" was mentioned over and over again, on TV, on the internet.

The bad news started to roll in during the late afternoon.  My sister was stuck on interstate 81.  A close, close, close friend was stranded, first on Routes 6 and 11 in the Clarks Summit area, then Keyser Avenue in Scranton.  Newswatch 16 crews were among those on the highway, going nowhere fast.  Texting.  Phone calls.  A major feeling of helplessness.  There wasn't going to be a rescue mission.  The road crews in my little town do a great job, but this was a tough one.  My street was covered, and I live on a hill.  My friend hung out in McDonald's.  My sister was trapped.

Penndot can open all of its command centers and activate its apps.  Consensus is this storm was a major fail.  The state was slow getting big rigs off the road, and the ban only applied to a limited area.  Sleet on top of snow is a plow driver's nightmare.  The storm was heavy and steady.  It was tough to keep ahead of this one.  Having said that, it's 2018.  There is no reason conditions should worsen to the level of shutting major interstates.  The threshold for vehicle bans needs to be lowered.  Penndot is not a nimble organization, and it is very slow to respond to changing conditions.  It is good at making excuses.  This doesn't happen in other places.

As it turns out, my friend and my sister arrived at their respective homes at roughly the same time.

Did we learn anything from this?  Probably not.  This has happened before.  The traffic nightmares continue.  We deserve better.