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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Charita Goshay: This winter, ‘down South’ has turned into ‘up North’

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  • The winter of 2014 has turned out to be a bit like the old Martha Reeves and the Vandellas Motown hit:
    “Nowhere to run to, baby. Nowhere to hide.”
    Thanks to a season that’s gone all Genghis Khan, wide swaths of the country have turned into tundra — and not the fun kind like Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.
    Nowhere is this more apparent than in the South. Last week, the intensity of this winter was distilled into a single moment, as emerging images from an ice-bound Atlanta were being compared to an episode from “The Walking Dead.”
    Midwesterners learn as kids that you can carp about winter all you want but you can’t quit living because of it. As a result, we invest in the kind of equipment needed to get through it, and even then, it can be a challenge. This winter has been like what happens when you poke a bear with a stick.
    PERFECT STORM
    Nothing creates a perfect storm like being utterly unprepared for it. Imagine the shock of Southerners who are trapped in their vehicles, taken hostage by ice and snow, knowing they have a better chance of seeing a UFO than a salt truck.
    The Weather Channel is headquartered is Atlanta, for Pete’s sake, but regional officials ignored the forecast, rolled the dice and lost the baby’s milk money. The storm brought the South to its knees like Sherman’s march to the sea ... had he done it in mukluks.
    Remember, these are people who usually see snow only inside a globe, or ice when it’s swirling about in their sweet tea. The rest are snowbirds who can navigate on snow and ice — a skill that is useless, however, when the driver next to you can’t.
    SANDBAGGED
    This winter has been such that it’s hard even to keep up with the names the Weather Channel now uses to identify the phalanx of storms assaulting the country. Perhaps it should just tag them “the Dirty Dozen” and be done with it.
    Now, some people will point to this winter as a perfect Exhibit A to dispute the idea of climate change. Weather experts say that while the polar vortex in the Northern Hemisphere tends to stay put, primarily in uppermost Canada and Siberia, a leg of it went rogue and came down and smashed temperature records like they were dinner plates.
    If this is a possible sign of things to come — and we won’t know that for decades — Southern cities would be wise to invest in gear a little more substantial than a bag of sand.
    Got nowhere to run to, baby. Nowhere to hide.
    Reach Charita at 330-580-8313. On Twitter: @cgoshayREP
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