Cold weather comes with cost for area

Published 12:07 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow and ice blanketed the Deep South again this week, the second time in five days, driving most communities to a screeching — or sliding perhaps is more fitting — halt.

Schools shut down, businesses and financial institutions closed and many roads transformed into ice rinks.

It appears, at least anecdotally, that our area has been receiving higher amounts of frozen precipitation over the last several years.

Email newsletter signup

The frozen stuff has become so much more commonplace lately than it was years ago that some locals have scoffed at the notion of global warming and a few jokingly blaming the problem on former Vice President Al Gore, a noted environmentalist.

The question for residents — and now is a great time to ponder it after many have been stuck in their houses for two days — is: How much snow and ice clearing do you expect from state and local government?

The amount of snow and sleet our area received would be considered a minor annoyance to most northern states, which are better prepared for such things. What is nothing to them is crippling to us and quite dangerous.

Perhaps our local leaders — cities, counties and parishes — would be wise to consider the costs of joining forces to buy the proper equipment to treat our major roadways when such weather is headed our way.

Do we even know what it would cost? Is it $50,000, $100,000, $250,000?

Those costs would pale in comparison to the economic activity lost over the last two days from businesses closed or, God forbid, the potential loss of life that could occur on dangerous roads.

For years, such things were dismissed as so rare that it wasn’t worth the cost, but we may be approaching a period of changing weather patterns that signal cost savings in preparation.