March 3-7....What a week!
It started late Sunday when we received word at KXII-TV that Senator Hillary Clinton was going to appear live on First News AM on Monday morning. Senator Clinton obviously is on a very tight schedule, and was no doubt appearing on every television station in Texas and Ohio that she possibly could have that Monday for the upcoming primary elections, but after a brief delay and a minor hiccup or two, we interviewed the presidential candidate via satellite:
After Clinton's appearance, it was right back to work and more preparations for Tuesday's primary elections in Texas.
Sometime over the course of a busy day, I hear something about a chance of snow on Tuesday.
"Snow in March...in Texas? 'Yeah, right,'" I say to myself.
Winter weather arrives in Texoma. Four inches of snow fall on Sherman/Denison. When it snows in our area, that means one thing: closings and cancellations.
I arrive at work around 5:30 a.m. to start posting and assisting with closings, delays, and cancellations.
Our Tower Cam catches a wreck as it happens around 7:30....
For the most part, it seemed like a 'fun' snow to most people we saw. Whereas the last few winter weather events have resulted in more ice than snow, Tuesday was more about fun in the powder and big snowflakes than icy roads and treacherous travel conditions.
As fun as Tuesday's gigantic snowflakes are, it's also Election Day. That means coming in early and staying late, and of course, the Texas Primary and Caucus are not completely counted until well into Wednesday. So besides the drama of the Obama/Clinton race in Texas, we have local county primaries that we don't have numbers for until well after midnight.
Thanks to a gracious PM crew, I am dismissed from election duty around 11:30 p.m.
Hours logged Tuesday: 17
OK, so Wednesday was pretty much a normal day. No snowing. No elections. A chance to catch our collective breath.
And catch up on sleep.
Before I go home, again I hear mutterings again about another snowstorm headed our way.
This time I pay attention.
It's Thursday morning and the station is abuzz with more winter weather on the way.
The only problem is the snow moves in much more quickly than anticipated.
...and it's one of the biggest snowstorms Texoma has ever seen.
...and it was snowing so hard that it was "whiteout" conditions on many local roads.
...and most North Texas school kids were released from class at virtually the same time.
The video does it more justice than I possibly could....
Here's some quick News 101 math...
Snowstorm + Everyone trying to get their kids and get home at the same time = Chaos
And that's what it was, in a word. Every major road in Sherman and Denison was traffic gridlock and most of them had plenty of vehicles that became stranded roadside or on a median.
Many were critical of how some school districts handled the weather situation on Thursday and into Friday. Many forget that while they were home- safe, sound, and warm- there were school administrators and bus drivers out- some stranded- making sure our students were able to make it home and make some tough decisions that few know how much detail goes into.
I pack it up around 9 p.m. More school closings await Friday morning.
I arrive at work around 6 a.m. I answer the phones probably three or four times before I even get my jacket off. Closings are piling up on paper on my desk, coming in by the dozen on the phones, and coming in via email also. After shouting at no one in particular for a few minutes, I quickly concoct a system in which I am answering phones, typing, clicking, and have a paper inbox and outbox for closings. (Closings are posted on our web channel and have to be run back into the control room to run on TV across the bottom of the screen). I answer roughly 60 phone calls in 60 minutes. Some of them I wish I could share with you, for their entertainment value alone.
Around 8 o'clock it slows down. The rest of the day is a blur. Major fatigue has set in.The snow melts slowly. Just like this week, it won't end quickly.
I'm dismissed to go home early around 3 p.m.
Deep breath. It's over. And it can't happen again tomorrow. Thank God for Saturdays.