Valentine’s Day’s warming vibes haven’t managed to work their way to the weather this year, as the brutal winter of 2014 continued over the last week. A storm that raged up and down the East Coast and Southern United States has delayed thousands of flights and deliveries, thwarting lots of romantic plans. Unfortunately, it has also been the main culprit of a dozen deaths in the South and another 21 in the North, mostly from traffic accidents. The worst of the storm has past, but certain areas in the Southeast will continue to feel its effects.
According to meteorologist Brian Lada, “The event could turn out to be the worst ice storm for parts of the South in more than 10 years.”
Even sledding, one of the most enjoyable winter activities has resulted in injuries. Cleveland, Ga. Fire Chief Ricky Pruit reported that at least seven people had been hospitalized in sledding accidents, including four who were hurt in a kayak that crashed into a pole.
In some areas, however, sledding might be the only way for kids and adults alike to have any fun if their schools or places of work are closed, especially since the power might be out. Around 300,000 homes and businesses lost power in Atlanta, while there were about 245,000 outages in South Carolina and another 100,000 in North Carolina.
For the most part, icy roads are the biggest danger all over the East Coast. Northern regions are more equipped to handle snowstorms, as there are plenty of plows and salt trucks available, but those numbers dwindle as you move south. As a result, drivers are running into all sorts of trouble on the road.
“Drivers in and around Raleigh, N.C., became snarled Wednesday in huge traffic jams and abandoned cars in scenes reminiscent of motorist woes in Atlanta during a storm two weeks earlier,” CBS Atlanta notes. “In Atlanta, many streets were eerily quiet this storm, with drivers heeding dire warnings to stay off the roads. State troopers say they worked more than 200 crashes in Georgia.”
Even though many kids and adults alike are getting to enjoy days where they are able to work from home without having to trek to the office, the consensus is that people are becoming weary of the weather and are ready to move on from the adventure of driving on perpetually icy roads.
“I hate driving on this,” said Mindy Taylor of South Carolina. “Hopefully it’ll warm up for the weekend and it will all melt. I’m ready for spring.”
Randal Delvernois of Pennsylvania echoed that sentiment. “Every time it snows, it’s like, “Oh, not again.” New Cumberland, where he lives, had about 10 inches of snow by Thursday. “I didn’t get this much snow when I lived in Colorado.”
Some have even complained about being stuck at home and needing to hit the roads just to get a little respite from their living room. Charter school teacher Bethany Lanier, of Atlanta, said, “Now, we’re out because we have cabin fever,” as she debated heading to a local pub with a friend.
For many homeowners, being safe on the roads isn’t the only challenge the winter weather brings with it. Roughly a fifth of the homes built in the 1980’s have HVAC systems that are 20 or more years old, and homeowners who don’t regularly deal with the cold might not know that their systems are not working properly. Because of that, simply staying warm might be difficult.
Tonight and through the weekend, cuddling up while celebrating Valentine’s Day might be the best way to stay warm and escape the frigid winter weather. Of course, as long as winter weather hasn’t stopped you from meeting up with that special somebody.