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Our Opinion: People pull together to ease snow woes

News Tribune editorial

Central Missourians deserve a collective pat on their aching backs — a result of shoveling out.

Streets, sidewalks and driveways continued being cleared Friday after winter storm Q deposited more than six inches of snow Thursday in Jefferson City.

An added feature was “thundersnow,” an uncommon weather phenomenon that blends snowfall with a thunderstorm.

First, a tip of our wool caps to the Jefferson City, Cole County and state road crews who, once again, worked deliberately to keep our roads safe and passable.

As reported by a staff member who accompanied one of the plow drivers Thursday, steady snowfall created an added complication.

“You can’t keep all of ’em open when it’s still coming down,” driver John Reutter remarked as he repeatedly plowed priority roads while trying to cover his entire territory.

Britt Smith, the city’s operations director, credited motorists with staying off the roadways. “Thankfully, many people heeded warnings and stayed home, and that made our jobs easier.”

Those people included non-essential workers in both the private and public sector — facilitated after the state invoked its hazardous travel policy Thursday morning, followed by Gov. Jay Nixon’s declaration of a state of emergency.

We also commend the school districts — including the Jefferson City School District — for announcing cancellations Wednesday night, based on the forecast.

Those decisions often are a calculated risk, and school officials frequently endure criticism when a predicted storm abates.

This time, the forecast was accurate, and the early announcement helped parents make alternate arrangements.

We also applaud the spirit of community evident in the many stories we have heard. Neighbors helped neighbors clear driveways and walkways; employees provided rides for co-workers; strangers assisted motorists stuck in snow.

Although snowstorms of this magnitude have been few and far between in recent years, it’s reassuring to witness our community’s powerful capacity for kindness.

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