Leon gave us a taste of Northern weather
It’s easy to snicker at south Louisiana’s trembling response to the winter storm dubbed “Leon.”
Temperatures were set to hover near freezing for a two-day span and mix with precipitation. In many places, this is a regular winter day.
There was no anticipation of a major snow or rain event, but schools, businesses and governments closed, a curfew was imposed and residents were repeatedly informed to stay indoors.
Power companies warned of days-long outages, so supermarkets were raided. Heaters and water were wiped from the shelves.
From a bird’s eye view, it looked like panic.
Local officials, however, will qualify it as preparation.
Louisiana’s semi-tropical climate conditions its residents to warm weather, sometimes unbearably so. But it was not the threat of cold air that had them scurrying earlier in the week.
It wasn’t a week before that several hundred people were involved in car accidents throughout the state because of a similar winter storm.
Louisiana has an abundance of water and, thus, bridges. The steely structures ice before roads. Frozen roads are a terror to drive on, as operators lose the ability to stop their vehicles. Anyone who has experienced the gliding sensation understands that power is out of his or her control.
So emergency officials reacted to the encroaching weather this week as if it were a hurricane, mobilizing public relations teams, encouraging businesses to close and preparing to salt vital throughways.
Their efforts are commendable.
Closed businesses may be inconvenient for some, but they go a long way to keeping people safe. It eliminates what could be construed as a legitimate reason to drive and instead emphasizes necessity.
As of Tuesday, it remained to be seen whether these efforts will prevent severe injuries, but empty streets Tuesday evening indicated that people were heeding the warnings and erring on the side of caution.
Let’s hope this mass-mobilization accomplished its goal.