You know, I had a completely different post in mind for today but it shall have to wait until tomorrow. This one is more important, I think.
So the Snowpocalypse happened this week. What should have been a mere dusting of snow for Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/North AL turned into 2-3 inches of snow and ICE within just a few hours. By the time most businesses and schools closed, it really was too late. My library closed at 11 and it took me three hours to drop my coworker off at home and make it back to the Hoover Rec where I spent the rest of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. It would ultimately take me 47 hours after we closed to get back to my house. My car was at the Rec Center until a few hours ago. Hubby was in Tuscaloosa when it started and he got back to Birmingham 46 hours after the University of Tuscaloosa closed. Thankfully his brother is a sophmore there and Hubby was able to stay in a dorm where it was warm and he had food. My sweet sister was stranded in downtown Birmingham at UAB where she’s a student. UAB cancelled classes at 12 pm on Tuesday and she got home yesterday (Thursday) at around 9 am. Panda, bless her tiny little heart, spent two days alone at our house. She’s completely fine, although a little more anxious than usual. My grandmother and mom made it through as well. They were both at home so got to just hang out and hang tight and ride it out successfully.
Despite being completely caught off guard by the storm, Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/surrounding areas fared extremely well, considering. There was no real wide-spread loss of power. There were actually, truly NO DEATHS caused by the storm. People were out in droves helping each other get to safety. When I was trying to get back into downtown Hoover, I saw people out in neighborhoods with shovels trying to clear the roads and pushing cars up hills. On the news were images of business employees walking up and down the roads with free coffee. There was even a man at the Rec Center who spent most of the day Wednesday driving people to their cars on I-65. I myself got to experience the hospitality of the Hoover Rec Center and the City of Hoover. The Rec Center stayed open as a shelter. The Director of the Parks and Recs Department for the City of Hoover was there with us. He and the Director of the Rec Center made numerous trips to the nearby Walmart to get food and other necessary items. We had sandwiches and chips/cookies/fruit Tuesday night along with water, a variety of Coke products and hot coffee. Wednesday morning, some men from the Public Safety department stopped by with 60 boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts. For breakfast there were sausage biscuits and sausage and egg biscuits, donuts, ham and cheese croissants, all the hot coffee you could stand, fruit, water, soda. For lunch on Wednesday they made hot dogs and offered chips and fruit and coffee and soda and water. It was a real class act and I am so grateful to the employees and the city for helping make this happen.
Because I work for the City too, I volunteered while I was in the Rec Center. I helped keep the women’s restrooms clean and stocked and helped make sandwiches and coffee and serve the food. There were about 200 of us refugees at the Rec Center and we all came together to make the best of an impossible awful situation.
The entire three days was stressful, there’s no doubt about it. And now, I’m suffering from the most epic of colds. I’m just so thankful that I had a warm and safe place to go and that Hubby and Sister did too. I tell you what, though, we are all working hard now to get prepared, should something like this happen again. I know for sure that I’ll seek shelter again next time instead of pushing things to the limit. But, fingers crossed, it wont happen again and all my planning will be for naught.