by Uzek Susol
Well done Orcas, you did great through this recent snow.
I had many “I’m stuck in the ditch” calls. Going through my incoming phone records I had an average of 25-35 per day starting last Friday through Wednesday, most of them were from out-of-state phone numbers. Many times they say they have driven in Michigan, New York, Colorado, etc. and they have never seen slippery snow like what we get here. There are a lot of visitors and new homeowners here recently. There were a few locals too (you know who you are), but mostly it was people who underestimated the wet and compact snow and steep driveways.
The first few days I was just concentrating on keeping the county roads and commonly shared roads for fire/rescue/aid access clear and then started on private driveways. I can only be in one place at a time and as always, early on there are usually multiple vehicles in the county road ditches so the private driveways will come second.
A handful of years ago in a snow event I pulled a car out of Cascade Lake. Inside was a very wonderful local woman who many of us knew well. She slid off the icy, snow-covered road into the lake and she never made it out of the car. I may sound over cautious in my reaching out to the community, but she will always be stuck in my mind as a happy, kind, positive and caring woman with a wonderful spirit. We should do our best to avoid an unneeded loss of life like hers. You don’t forget things like that and when people are out there on the ice and snow-covered roads without proper equipment. I have a healthy respect for the snow and ice and how quickly things can go from good to life-changing. I remember her every time I drive by Cascade lake — sun, rain or snow. There is always the option to call the sheriff’s office or fire department if you have an immediate need for your health or safety. If you’re short on supplies you can reach out through social media or to your neighbors for assistance. There are many people who are prepared with snow tires/chains who are happy to help others. I saw them many times over this last week delivering groceries, pulling people out of ditches, giving rides and bringing firewood.
Public works did a great job of getting out there and clearing the roads. Fire/rescue/aid are always johnny on the spot when you call. Fuel and propane providers, OPALCO — many people out there hard at work in poor conditions. Thanks to the deputies for watching my back when I was working out in traffic on the slick roads. There were a handful of private snow plows out also clearing driveways and parking lots, which was very helpful.
Until next time, charge your batteries, find your warm blankets and warm clothes, have a good backup heat source that doesn’t rely on electricity, fill your generators with fuel if you have them and have your pantry stocked with water and food so you can enjoy a few snow days at home rather than meet me in the ditch.