Snow has always reminded me of a distant relative that I see once every couple of years. This distant relative is always someone I wish to see until he finally arrives. When he comes over for the holidays, he’s offered a warm welcome until his political opinions start to flow with a glass of bourbon. All of a sudden, we are counting down the days until his departure.
Ole Miss and Northern Mississippi were hit with an intense winter storm which I welcomed with wishes of snowball fights in the grove, snow angels, and immaculate snowmen. After the first day, however, like my relative, I’ve been steadily counting down to the days I can drive to Chipotle or walk to the square without the threat of a bruised tailbone.
The result of the winter storm made roads all over Oxford completely impassable and even caused busted pipes throughout campus, flooding multi-million-dollar sorority houses. The weather has not only put roads and houses out of service, but it has also stayed around for a surprisingly long time. Long enough to where Ole Miss had to officially delay the start of school until the 25th to ensure students’ safe arrival on campus.
The problem with winter weather like this is that Mississippi’s infrastructure cannot hold its own. Mississippi infrastructure is notoriously sub-par to begin with. Throwing in ice and snow doesn’t help. Many of my northern friends wonder why Mississippi access to snowplows or ice trucks is limited. Having this equipment, however, is a problem because it makes no sense to spend taxpayer dollars on equipment that only gets used at most once a year.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy solution to this kind of unexpected weather, so the solution to intense winter weather in Mississippi is communication. Because many of the state’s residents have not had to experience this weather often, unnecessary risks get taken. By effectively communicating the risks and helping citizens prepare for the weather, lives (and cars) can be saved.
During times like this, it is important to stock up on food (my diet has consisted of ramen and peanut butter jelly this week) and check with local governments’ web and social media pages to have a good idea of when it is safe to move around.
Oxford has done an excellent job informing its citizens, and may we pray that winter weather in the future can bring fluffy snow, and less ice on the roads.
David Ramsey is a junior public policy leadership major from Madison, Miss.