Southwestern Virginia found itself unprepared, for the most part, for the snow storm that hit and crippled the region this past week.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), hit hard by a continuing series of budget cuts, didn’t have enough equipment or men to handle the snow clearing duties. Trucks on the road broke down or couldn’t cope with the high drifts created by driving winds on the day after the storm. A farmer on drifted-over area of Harvestwood Lane cleared the road with his tractor and front-end loader so he could feed his cattle. It would be two more days before a VDOT truck would plow the road.
Schools remained closed for four days in many counties. Carroll and Patrick County remained on two-hour delay today.
Floyd County blogger Fred First couldn’t get home on a Tuesday night because both routes into his home were blocked by broken-down VDOT trucks. He spent the night at Hotel Floyd. David St. Lawrence tried to start his generator when the power went out and found a hopelessly-fouled spark plug — a problem that could have been prevented with a little pre-snow maintenance.
The Town of Floyd fell behind in clearing public parking areas and sidewalks. Hardware stores reported a run on shovels and ice scrapers. Small-engine repair shops fielded a lot of calls from owners of generators and snow blowers who had skipped maintance on their machines and found they either wouldn’t start or broke down while running.
A lot of people, it seemed, forgot the old Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.