Our next storm
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Mar 12, 2013 | 2993 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A motorist makes an early exit after losing control of his vehicle, which slid off the road on Interstate 20 East during a blizzard in Atlanta, Saturday, March 13, 1993. The area was battered by the major storm which caused power outages and snarling traffic. Photo: Curtis Compton/Associated Press/file
A motorist makes an early exit after losing control of his vehicle, which slid off the road on Interstate 20 East during a blizzard in Atlanta, Saturday, March 13, 1993. The area was battered by the major storm which caused power outages and snarling traffic. Photo: Curtis Compton/Associated Press/file
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“The South is just not ready for this.”

That statement, made by former Anniston street superintendent Alan Magouirk, was never more accurate than it was the day after the Storm of the Century — or, as most Alabamians call it, the Blizzard of 1993.

Magouirk nailed it. Twenty years ago today, a late-winter storm of biblical proportions hit the Southeast before it meandered north. Innumerable Deep South cities set snowfall records. Tornados broke out in northern Florida. Thundersnow was common. Some homes were powerless or waterless for days. Roads covered in feet of snow were impassible. Everything — stores, schools, government offices — was closed. And people died.

They survived, too.

Annistonians walked to the Waffle House on Quintard Avenue, whose power was out but could still serve hot food because its stoves were powered by gas.

An Anniston Army Depot helicopter was used to rescue those stranded atop Mount Cheaha.

Calhoun County’s 911 operators received 200 to 300 calls an hour — 10 times the normal amount.

The Alabama National Guard provided humvees for the Anniston Police Department.

A bulldozer cleared roads in Jacksonville.

Wind-chill figures dropped well below zero throughout central Alabama.

Seventeen inches of snow fell in Birmingham; 13 fell in Anniston.

“It was the mother of all snow storms,” a National Weather Service meteorologist told The Star.

Today, 20 years later, we have to ask: Will we be better prepared for the next Storm of the Century when it hits? Now’s the time to find out.
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