Unexpected Snowpacolypse Causes Chaos

Courtesy of al.com

Brian Coshatt

Courtesy of al.com

Starting on Tuesday, January 28th, snow flurries started to fall across the Birmingham area around 10:00 a.m. As the announcements for an early dismissal came on for OMHS, students cheered in excitement to go home. However, some would not be going home as early as expected.

Most seniors and juniors were able to make it home safely before the snow started to stick and the ice began to freeze over the roads around 11:20, but many underclassmen were not as lucky. Roads were too dangerous for buses to take the students home, so parents attempted to pick up their students with any route possible. Highway 280 quickly shut down, following Interstate 65 and others. Those stuck on certain highways had to stay in their cars overnight and were fed by the National Guard. Caldwell Mill’s hill leading to OMHS was too much for many cars to handle, so they quickly slid, flipped, or froze stuck. Highway 119 quickly became packed by people from various schools trying to reach their kids. When cars could not move anymore, many abandoned them and decided to walk to the school or walk home.

“My aunt’s car was stuck on Valleydale, and I stayed at the school until six. Then my dad came to get me and my cousin, and we had to walk home. Eventually a lady offered to drive us the rest of the way” sophomore, Lyric B, said.

Many stuck on Valleydale joined Spain Park High School for the night, but OMHS still had some teachers and students who had to do the same.

“I didn’t sleep. I was up at four in the morning grading Hamlet essays; I was afraid someone would come shave my eyebrows off or something!” Mrs. Melissa Dixon joked.

The girls slept in the media center and the boys slept in various classrooms. The CNP personnel were fantastic in serving lunch, dinner, and breakfast throughout the storm.
Despite the chaos, at least the snow days following the snowpacolypse were used by the students to play in the blizzard that could quite possibly not return for the next few years. Better yet, the snow days will not have to be made-up by the students due to classification of state emergency. The snow storm wasn’t all bad; it gave everyone a chance to get closer to each other. “When I got home, my mom had blankets and hot cocoa ready for us” Lyric B added.

It may have been a little rough to be away from family for a night, but overall the experience wasn’t a bad one. Mrs. Dixon said, “I got to bond with other faculty members I didn’t even know before. I got to make new friends. I would do it all over again.”

Following the first major snow storm this school year, a second expected snow fall occurred shortly after. Being more prepared for possible frozen roads and below freezing temperatures, the county shut down schools Tuesday through Thursday to avoid the same chaos that happened just weeks before.

Tuesday’s weather brought no snow but temperatures dangerously close to freezing.
Wednesday’s weather started out just cold, but that night, snow began to pile on the ground. The final result that the area woke up to on Thursday morning was 4-6 inches of snow.

Thursday’s temperatures heated up to around 50 degrees, melting a majority of the snow by nightfall, but before that occurred, everyone went out to enjoy it. “I got to build a snowman!” Caroline L said. “My favorite part was sledding.” Jessica S added.

Luckily, the additional days of school missed will not have to be made up, and benchmarks will not be taking place for the nine weeks.