The anticipation of a major snowstorm is enough to alter the habits of many Columbia residents. Here is a look at the ups and downs of the snowfall and how it affects daily life.
Pizza deliveries — The Pizza Hut at 3307 Clark Lane was “maybe three times as busy,” according to Don Crow, general manager.
Video/DVD rentals — 9th St. Video saw an increase at “three, maybe four times as much,” said Janet Marsh, who was called into work at the video store Thursday because of brisk business.
Groceries — Sales of milk, eggs, bottled water and ground beef “soar before storms,” said Tim Birk, general manager at Wal-Mart Supercenter at 3001 W. Broadway.
Snow removal tools — “Right now the top items are all in the snow categories; ice melt, snow shovels, ice scrapers and windshield deicer,” Birk said.
Winter clothing — Coats and gloves were also flying off the shelves. Alpine Shop sales associate Andrea Backhoff said that they sold 15 pairs of gloves in just three hours Thursday morning.
Temperatures — After Wednesday’s unseasonably warm high temperature of 67 degrees, Thursday’s high temperature was 32, and that was during the early morning hours.
Air traffic — All flights into and out of Columbia Regional Airport were canceled Thursday, and half of Wednesday’s flights were canceled. According to Cliff Faulkner, US Airways Express station manager: “It doesn’t look good for (today).”
Driving speeds — Motorists were taking it easy Thursday afternoon as the first flakes of the storm began to fall. Columbia Transit buses are operating on their “weather emergency schedule.” For more information about the schedule, call 874-7282 or go to www.gocolumbiamo.com and click on “transportation.”
School attendance — The Columbia Public School District canceled classes Thursday, and if the weather forecast is accurate, many Columbia students are going to have a four-day weekend.
On chilly days like this, the most difficult thing for many drivers is simply to get into their cars. Mike Right, the vice president of public affairs at AAA, provides several useful tips to accomplish that mission and get on the road.
- Check every door of the car: Moisture is often wind-driven. It may be possible to open the doors on the passengers’ side even if the driver’s side doors are stuck.
- Prepare yourself with a deicer: It can be applied on the windshield and the outlines of the door. It is erosion-free and easy to use. To break the outlines of car doors, a frozen roll of newspapers may be helpful.
- Treat the windshield carefully: Only use a scraper to hit the ice and let it gently detach. Don’t use water at any temperature — it will only worsen the situation.
- Heat up your car key only when necessary: It is often a good idea to heat up the key when it won’t fit in the lock, but some keys contain electronic devices or chips that will break during the procedure.
- Keep the gas tank at least half full: It may prevent you from an emergency such as an unexpected delay on the highway. Also make sure that your battery is properly maintained and your phone is sufficiently charged.
— Hsin-Yin Lee