Tallahassee’s snowfall a memorable event

By Daria Laycock
Outlook Writer

The chances of another dusting of snow seemingly is unlikely in Tallahassee before winter is over, but for many who work outdoors memories of the recent snowfall will linger.

Prior to the first measurable snowfall, the city hasn’t experienced such an event in more than two decades.

It was especially brutal for outdoor workers. Take for example Carlton Sion, who works in irrigation.

His biggest challenge was trying to make sprinklers function in freezing conditions.

“When it gets below freezing, water freezes in pipes and the water from irrigation systems freezes before it hits a plant’s roots so we get a lot of calls in the cold season,” Sion said.

The end result could be costly to the agriculture industry. Cold weather tends to hit those whose business is to grow produce for a livelihood.
“If plants don’t get watered people don’t eat and you don’t stop eating just because it’s cold,” Sion said. “A lot of times we can save an entire harvest working on cold days.”

The snow event in Tallahassee had such an impact that it forced school closings across North Florida. The unusual Florida weather was the result of a fierce winter storm that pummeled the Eastern Coast two weeks ago.

Changes in atmospheric pressure pushed snow from the cold fronts further south than normal, resulting in abnormally low temperatures for Tallahassee and surrounding areas.

The estimated 0.1 inches of snow that fell in Tallahassee, also caused closure of sections of I-10 from Tallahassee to Madison.
It also created havoc for some truck drivers.

“I own my truck so I can’t afford to maintain it like a big company would,” said Floyd Johnson, a small business owner who makes his living driving a semi-truck. “The tires go for longer than they should. They get  bald (and) I’m always afraid of skidding or hydroplaning.”
Like truckers, the men and women who pave roads had their struggles in the cold weather.

Most pavers like Stevie Vivon, who works for Gulf Asphalt, couldn’t get the snowy day off. He found that bundling up was the best remedy for working outside.

“You have to suit up,” Vivon said. “I bought a thick jacket. We get these masks that cover our mouth.

“The cold isn’t bad. It’s when the wind blows hard and your fingers start to go numb and it gets to you.”