In the past, rare snowfall has brought a fleeting quiet beauty to East Texas; however, this past week, it was … different.
The forecast one-two punch of a winter storm double-whammy became all too real as East Texans woke early Monday to find sleet had turned to snow and piled up for several inches. The snow, which typically lasts no longer than a day in East Texas, was reinforced with record-low temperatures and another round of sleet and ice. The sub-freezing temperatures and more wintry precipitation helped give the accumulation some staying power as schools and businesses remained closed and roads were off limits to those of us who do not have four-wheel-drive vehicles.
The National Weather Service on Sunday reported the Longview area received between 10 and 12 total inches of snow and sleet this past week. On Monday, the temperature reached nearly 70 degrees with sunny skies, and we are glad to see the snow and ice nearly all melted.
Still, as the snow effectively shut down the city for much of a week, we once again saw a lot of good in area residents as we all dealt with related challenges.
This week, we are grateful that most of us have electricity at home that likely went out only for a short time as many of our fellow Texans across the state dealt with longer outages.
In Longview, there has been plenty of water. Although, pipes have burst in homes and businesses across the city and some of us have been without water for a time, we are glad to not be under a boil order.
As snow was again covered with ice in Longview, the city opened a shelter at the Longview Public Library to provide a place to get warm for people who might not have heat at home. State Rep. Jay Dean worked with his home church, St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, in Longview to explore opening a shelter and provided water and food baskets. A local Jeep club provided a way for local frontline workers to get to hospitals and they and other residents helped motorists whose vehicles had slid off the roadway or could not get traction. One Longview man coordinated donations to make pizzas available to residents at no cost to them.
The snow also sparked creativity in our community, causing many of us to remember our inner child as we found ways to sled down hills, make snow angels on the ground, create snowmen and even build igloos.
It is never a surprise to see the creativity of East Texans or to witness neighbors helping neighbors here, but it is still always a great feeling.
Just like it was a great feeling this weekend to be able to get out of our homes after a week of being cooped up and to see the roads were once again safe for driving.
With getting out came the realization that the after effects of the massive winter storms were not yet over. Some items — gasoline, meat, bread and milk — have still been scarce. Let’s keep our neighbors in mind when purchasing these items and take only what we need.
Let’s also continue to remember our neighbors in other nearby towns as they continue to deal with water or power issues.
And finally, let’s bid the snow and ice adieu for a long, long time.