It is Snowing in the Midlands!

With the Midlands’ first snow of 2010, local emergency officials are in storm mode and bracing for this new wave of Old Man Winter. At about 3:30 Friday afternoon, snow began blanketing the Midlands. It was a winter wonderland many thought would not be, including newcomer Mike Harlen, who heard Columbia was “famously hot.” “This is not fitting the bill,” said Harlen. Meanwhile, the city of Columbia’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is manned all day and night to deal with wintry weather. The city’s winter shelter is open. Two additional overflow sites are on stand-by as well: Martin Luther King Park at 2300 Green Street, for homeless individuals and Hyatt Park at 950 Jackson Street for families seeking shelter. With extra staff on board in almost every department, officials are determined to beat Mother Nature at her own game. “What we’re gonna have is hazardous driving conditions and power outages. There are resources available in case you experience a power outage,” said Mike King with the city of Columbia. Those resources include city fire stations which are being used as ‘warm stations,’ sites you can go to if you lose power in your home. If you choose to use additional methods of heating your home, be careful. “If you’re using a space heater, keep it at least three feet away from anything that can burn and always be watchful of it,” said Interim Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins. Watch your plans, too, and be ready to change them at a moment’s notice. “What we’re asking folks to do especially if you’re not used to driving in the snow, just slow down don’t get in a hurry and if you really don’t need to go out tonight, don’t go out.”