Our View: Observations in the aftermath of ‘Snowzilla’

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Our View: Observations in the aftermath of ‘Snowzilla’
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(Photo/Chris Teale)

When a heavy snowstorm hits, it can be an isolating experience. In the span of a few hours, the seemingly innocuous flakes can completely cripple a city’s infrastructure and leave families stranded in their own homes.

Within a day or two, the novelty of snow days wear off and cabin fever can set in. And with it, residents can become frustrated with what they perceive as a slow response from local government.

But with proper planning by city officials, strong community spirit and a little patience, storm cleanup can go off without a hitch. And that is precisely what happened in Alexandria this week, as a blizzard dumped nearly two feet of snow on the Port City, well over what the city typically sees over the course of an entire year.

In preparation for the storm, city officials had 80 trucks and snowplows from across the country at the ready to respond. Since Sunday, drivers have worked around the clock to clear Alexandria’s more than 500 lane miles of roadway.

As of press time, all roads in the city have been deemed passable, meaning emergency vehicles can traverse them. Although it still will take several more days to ensure all streets are completely clear of snow, that is quite a feat and is worthy of praise.

Kudos goes to residents for their resilience in the face of this historic blizzard, and their willingness to band together to help out. Families teamed up to dig out driveways, sidewalks and smaller streets. And neighbors looked out for those who were unable to pitch in on their own, digging out elderly or injured residents.

Most importantly, Alexandrians mostly heeded the warnings of city leaders and remained home during the storm. As a result, there were no reported deaths; few, if any, injuries, and fewer disabled vehicles and other emergencies for first responders to deal with. Aside from the obvious benefits of that bit of good news, it meant officials could keep their focus on the task of snow removal.

That being said, there still is work to be done. Although offices and schools are beginning to reopen throughout the week, the job of clearing streets needs to be finished with the utmost expediency in order for life truly to return to normal.

And while residents are anxious to return to their regular schedules, we urge them to remain patient. Clearing this much snow takes time.

Keep up that community spirit a little bit longer. Help your neighbors, especially if they are older residents. Don’t fight over who dug out which parking space or whose space belongs to whom. And try to enjoy the white stuff, before it melts away.

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