Local news is abuzz with the latest breaking news story, “Winter Storm Watch 2014! 2-4 Inches of Snow and Ice Expected!” Winter Storm Leon is on its way, and only one region of North America could get so up in arms about such a minor weather event – welcome to the south!
A Long History of Uproar Over Winter Weather
I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and have grown accustomed to the response that a snow forecast brings. Travelling 25 miles south to Rock Hill, SC has not proven any different. This week, schools are making decisions about early dismissals and closures more than 24 hours in advance of a single snowflake. We don’t have many salt trucks down here so they have to start their preparation as early as possible to try to lay brine on as many roads as they can before the snow starts falling.
The stories are all true:
- The grocery stores in Rock Hill all get raided for the two most important items: bread and milk.
- Whether you’re in North or South Carolina, proceed with caution because people really don’t know how to drive in these conditions. Even if the roads aren’t icey, the snow can end up freezing on the windshield blocking drivers’ field of vision!
- Since snow and ice is such a rarity down here, our electric systems aren’t built to withstand too much of it, so it doesn’t take much for the town to start shutting down.
It all sounds very dramatic, I know, but it’s hard out there for a southerner in the snow!
Some say that the way southern cities like Rock Hill report news leading up to this type of weather is overkill, but it’s really an important reminder to get all of your most pressing matters out of the way before the snowfall begins. Have dry cleaning to pick up? Better grab it! Feeling sick? Better zip through your local urgent care and grab a Z-Pak! Though non-natives are often surprised at how soon the town starts to “batten down the hatches”, they understand a little bit better once they’ve seen how ill-equipped southern towns are to handle a few inches of snow or ice.
Charming, Isn’t It?
Even though I was born down south, I have plenty of family up north who tease us everytime a winter storm threatens Rock Hill with snow. I can’t say I really blame them, but it’s also all in good fun. That’s why I’ve been so surprised over this last couple of days, to see so many people seeming almost angry about the coverage of the storm. “Idiots! Carrying on about a few inches of snow,” one commenter complained on a Rock Hill publication’s Facebook page.
Maybe it’s always been like this, and I’ve just been oblivious, or maybe the sentiment is being amplified by social media. Yes, maybe Rock Hill and the rest of the south get a little crazy sometimes – but to me, that’s always been a part of the southern charm! We’d LOVE to get a full foot of it and have a real reason to get excited, but you’ve got to work with what you have. During a good winter we’ll be lucky to get a couple of storms producing a couple of inches each, and when it happens – we’re going to get excited about it!!
Our weathermen may even stand out in it, and try to grab a handful, and instead come up with mostly leaves and dirt. But they’ll still describe its temperature and wetness, with gusto! That innocence and naivete hasn’t completely lost its appeal yet, has it?
Liz Frye is true Southern Girl, a mother to five, and a freelance writer who regularly contributes to Universal Woman.