The blizzard

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Last week's snowstorm in the Cape Girardeau area fulfilled the wishes of all those children dreaming of a white Christmas. It also brought stories of near-heroic efforts -- and a fair share of complaints.

The snow came in two batches, which meant the road-clearing efforts after the first wave were all but obliterated by the second wave.

And heavy weekday traffic -- augmented by holiday shoppers trying to make last-minute purchases -- packed the snow on city streets.

Crews working long hours to clear streets and roads, make emergency calls, deliver the newspaper (on most routes) and provide essential services deserve a big thank you. Many of these individuals toiled without sleep for as much as 24 hours or longer.

The sub-freezing temperatures prolonged the misery, however. This area is used to winter storms followed by thawing temperatures. But this time the snow packed on city streets and sidewalks and piled up in front of mailboxes and driveways lingered ... and lingered ... and lingered.

As a result, mail and newspaper deliveries were missed in some areas. Many motorists struggled to get out of their neighborhoods to reach the relative safety of main streets and roads. There will be lots of questions for a long time about why snow clearing efforts all but stopped inside the city limits after the second day.

There were heroes during and after the storm. Countless motorists helped get stranded vehicles going again. And county residents with snow-moving equipment provided untold assistance to road crews to clear deep drifts in the country.

With warmer temperatures a week later, the worst of the blizzard memories are gone. And, like so many others, we think how lucky we were in comparison to those poor souls around the Indian Ocean.

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