Community members still shell-shocked by Sandy

Like many local residents, we keep an eagle eye on the weather forecast during the winter months, so it came as a bit of a shock to us – and probably to some of you – when the forecast suddenly changed Wednesday afternoon.

We learned that a snow storm was coming through the area overnight Wednesday, which was definitely news to us. Still, it didn’t sound that bad – maybe one inch of precipitation to three inches at most. Just a “dusting of snow.” Nothing to be concerned about, right?

But then the snow began to fall just as it started getting dark Wednesday.

“This certainly showed up quicker than the forecast predicted,” we thought. More than an inch accumulated in downtown Elkins by 8 p.m. Wednesday, and the snow continued through the night.

We woke up Thursday to a winter wonderland scene. There was definitely more than a “dusting” of snow out there – more like 8 inches, actually – and some residents weren’t happy about not being warned sooner of the impending storm.

The reason a minor weather forecast glitch can get under our nerves so much now is that we’re all a bit shell-shocked following last year’s weather double whammy: the June 29 derecho and, four months to the day later, Superstorm Sandy. The extensive power outages caused by those two calamities have haunted us ever since.

Sandy left many without electricity, heat or water for weeks, and fear of enduring such hardships again – in the middle of winter – has everyone on edge. Some of us may not begin to relax until spring is here.

Local leaders, like Randolph County’s Office of Emergency Management director, Jim Wise, have told us we can’t live in fear of the weather.

“Everyone’s a little gunshy right now, but we can’t let a little snow worry us to the point that we can’t function,” Wise told The Inter-Mountain in December.

Until spring comes, we all have to remember how hundreds of individuals came together in our communities to help those without power after Sandy’s destruction. If we’re faced with another weather disaster, we’ll rally again.

We all need to be prepared for such a possibility, but let’s not allow the weather forecast to send us into a tizzy – even when it changes drastically at the last minute.