If drifting snow and subzero temperatures have you worried for your safety, take solace in the news that the Indiana General Assembly canceled its session Monday on account of the weather. Some observers have noted that the most dangerous time for Hoosiers is when the legislature is in session, so at least one risk was lessened.
That left plenty of others, of course, but the extreme conditions had the usual effect: bringing out the best in northeast Indiana residents. The first major storm of 2014 found no shortage of good neighbors eager to offer help to anyone who needed it.
First and foremost, of course, were the many emergency officials who prepared to fight the elements just as the rest of us took shelter. Their skill and devotion was on display in countless examples.
Road and street crews did stellar work clearing snow in the worst of conditions. They rightly focused on main roads, ensuring that those who needed to travel could do so. The city enlisted private contractors to assist. Gov. Mike Pence ordered the National Guard to deploy 48 highway assistance teams to rescue stranded motorists and help emergency medical services reach people who need medical attention.
The nonprofit community stepped up, as it always does. When its own beds were full, the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission reached out to partners to find additional space. The mission’s dining room was converted to a warming shelter. The Salvation Army on North Clinton Street also was opened as a shelter.
Weather forecasters deserve some credit, as well. Their early warnings allowed most residents plenty of time to prepare. The crush at area grocery stores on Friday and Saturday suggested that most took warnings seriously, stocking up for a storm that, thankfully, hit on a quiet Sunday when most people were eager to stay home and watch football.
Medical professionals were on the job attending to patients whose needs won’t wait for better weather. The same applies to those who work in other essential-service jobs, including nursing homes.
Finally, there were heroes to be found in the many people who didn’t need to be on the roads and followed officials’ warnings to stay home as the bitter temperatures set in early Monday. Emergency workers had enough to keep them busy without rescuing motorists who didn’t need to be on the road.
One note of caution: Congress did resume work Monday but given its lackluster record, they shouldn’t pose too much danger.