A rare snowstorm is marching across the South, causing power outages and slick roadways that led to a number of traffic accidents. At least six people were killed, most from heart attacks caused by the shock that it’s possible for frozen precipitation to fall from the sky during the wintertime.
Schools and businesses closed throughout the region in reaction to snow totals that neared four inches in some locations, and most Southerners decided to stay home rather than face the treacherous conditions outside. Some exercised even more care to avoid possible injury.
Residents at the home of Charlotte native Guy Pepper declined even to leave their beds lest they slip and fall.
“When my clock radio came on this morning, the first thing they talked about was the inch and a half of snow we had outside,” said Pepper. “We’re not used to that kind of thing around here and I wanted to be extra careful. I just stayed in bed all day.”
Neighbor Sue Walton said she considered visiting the bathroom about 15 feet away from her bed, but decided against it rather than take the risk.
“It’s not that I don’t trust myself to walk across the carpet,” she said. “It’s the other people out there that I worry about. My husband, he walks like a crazy man in these conditions, and I don’t want him losing control and crashing into me.”
The family at a home down the street was a little more adventurous in dealing with the storm, acknowledging that they did “take a chance” by venturing out of bed and into the hallway, eventually making it to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.
“If you just take it nice and slow, it’s not that bad,” said Edwin Drew. “What you have to watch for are the slick patches that seem to come up just as you’re gaining some confidence. It took me almost an hour to carefully walk down the hall, but I made it.”
Only a few blocks away, resident Robyn Blackburn actually went so far as to open her front door and grab the newspaper that was just outside.
“I lived in the north for about a year so I’m pretty familiar with these conditions,” Blackburn said. “I keep a set of chains at my bedside. I use them mainly for other purposes, but they can double as snow chains in a pinch. I wrapped them around my feet and lower legs and they gave me the traction I needed to make it to the door.”
Another Southerner who braved the wintry conditions was Ken Shelley, who went out to his driveway to check on the condition of his vehicle.
“I’m not insane enough to try to drive the thing, but I thought at least I could sweep some snow off the roof,” said Shelley.
The South Charlotte man used what he called a “four-wheel drive equivalent” to walk about ten feet down the slope of a small incline.
“It’s probably more like six-wheel drive,” he said. “I get down on my hands and knees and crawl like a baby over the icy pavement. I have contact with two hands, two knees and two feet, so I feel I’m pretty likely to survive the trip without a skid.”