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Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Snow ≠ State of Emergency

We are getting a little snow. Some parts of the state might get as much as a foot of snow. So?

And Governor Tim Kaine declared Virginia to be in a "state of emergency"?!?

Because of some snow? It's late December. It's winter. And it's Virginia, not south Florida. It's not the three feet I've seen here before, and which we dealt with without any real problem. It's not the two feet I saw in Georgia on occasion. And it won't be even the one foot in most areas; here in Bristol, we're expecting 4-8 inches.

The stores will sell out of bread and milk. Some gas stations may sell out. Both for the same reason - stupid people who think that if they get stuck at home for a few days, they might starve to death. What's the matter? Forget to go shopping this week? But it happens every time the forecast even calls for snow.

Some people will likely freeze to death. But that is a function of the cold, not the snow -- and it's not that cold, with lows maybe in the 20's; it was colder last week than now.

Some people may die from carbon monoxide poisoning, fumes, house fires, etc -- from using camp stoves, grills, etc, inside the house if they lose power for maybe a day or two. They have a gas grill and not a decent coat? Sounds like misplaced priorities to me. And a lack of common sense besides. And there are public organizations that are willing to help, if they just ask. There are public shelters with warm rooms, if the person just wants the help.

Snow happens. It is NOT an emergency.

1 comment:

  1. Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that the government should stay "business as usual" during heavy snow. There are things to do - roads to plow, salt and/or sand to spread, people to rescue from stranded vehicles, shelters to staff. But plans should be in place well in advance to handle such situations as they arise, because they inevitably will arise.

    We usually get a couple of good snowstorms each year, each with at least a couple of inches of snow, and the state and local governments should be prepared to handle them.

    Are thousands of people out of their homes due to the weather as flooding might cause? Has the snow destroyed whole towns as fire might? Are hundreds of thousands of people without power for weeks at a time? Not usually.

    We had large sections of the state without power two weeks ago due to wind damage. That was not declared a "state of emergency." Why is this time any different?

    We have several holiday weekends each year which are known for having a significantly greater number of vehicle accidents. Why are these weekends not declared a "state of emergency"?

    Has the governor requested assistance from road-clearing crews and rescue personnel from other states? I don't think so. And if he has, even that is due to insufficient preparation.

    As the statement goes, "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine."

    People should be willing to help those around them, and there may be localized "emergencies," but a statewide emergency? I don't think so.