The time I almost died in a snow storm. A story about survival and hope.

It has snowed twice in six weeks in southwest Louisiana. To put this into perspective, a common phrase uttered around here is, “It feels hotter than hell outside.”  Well, hell just froze over, twice.  Flying pigs have now been moved into the realm of possibilities. Stay tuned. I know we are.

Weather Report Summary

There is cold and then there is I might freeze to death cold. It is approaching freezing to death cold. The low is 17 degrees. Ladies and gentlemen, I repeat 17 degrees. This is not a drill! Warnings for a hard freeze, winter chill, winter weather, and winter wind advisory are flashing and scrolling across the bottom my TV screen.  Phrases including, “Dangerous wind chill values of 7 to 12 degrees can cause frostbite within 30 minutes of exposure. Frostbite can lead to hypothermia,” are being thrown in between warnings.

7 degrees? Is that a typo? Are we being advised on how to survive a blizzard or informed about the weather? Personally, I am thinking that all of these warnings are synonyms for it is excessively cold outside. Moreover, I only needed one warning to justify me not leaving my house or getting dressed. I did not need the scared straight tactic for not getting dressed today, but four warnings make my lack of desire to change out of my flannel PJs appear to be more about rational decision-making than laziness. I will take it.

Word of the Day

Black ice = What the road looks like when it freezes. I am sure a plethora of examples will be available via social media in the near future. I can just see the captions now. Water can even freeze on cement!?! Whoa…mind blown!

Eye Witness Report

What time is it? Wait! What day is it? I vaguely remember that thing people refer to as the sun. Food is becoming scarce as residents are consuming each meal at a pace and a level of quantity equivalent to if they were consuming their last meal ever. We could ice skate in the front yard. Plants are losing their will to live. I think my fingers actually did get frostbite while waving to a neighbor. My two-year-old is double fisting sippy cups and waiting for Elsa to visit our house any second now. Schools are closed. Businesses are closed. I am grateful the postal worker is delivering my junk mail though. Fear is rampant among parents that the schools may never reopen; thus, leading them to weigh the pros and cons of day drinking. Sanity is fleeting and I fear a mutiny may be on the horizon.

Side note: My child did inform a wet and shivering postal worker that shorts and high socks are not ideal clothing choices for today’s weather.  I think he gave my son a mental middle finger. I know I would have.

Clothing Situation


Women down south are kicking themselves for shaving their legs a few days ago when it was warm. That extra layer would have helped them keep warm today. In fact, anything would help at this point. About 99% of people in Louisiana do not own enough clothes in their closets for this weather. Trust me, we are trying to stay warm. If I saw someone with sequins from a Mardi Gras Ball dress sticking out between their layers, I wouldn’t even blink an eye. I am at the point I would rob a bank robber for his ski mask. Yep. I would take that risk. It is that cold.

In my quest for staying warm, I learned something new. I discovered that I could wear no more than three scarves at one time if I still wanted to be able to breathe and see. I also learned that while wearing all of my clothes at once helped with warmth,  it limited the mobility of my arms. I could relate to the kid on a Christmas Story who couldn’t move his arm. This was not awesome when a clump of snow fell out of a tree and hit me in the face. Well played Mother Nature, well played.

My advice: Just put on all of the clothes you own, BUT make sure you can still move all of your limbs, breathe, and fit through doorways. If the answer is no to any of these, dial it back a layer or two. Work on mobility and run drills to prepare for falling snow. Also, make sure you have a game plan for bathroom trips. If you do not, there is no plan B. You are wearing everything you own.

We Know You Are Laughing At Us

We know individuals living in areas that snow often are all laughing at us. We know you walk uphill both ways to school in snow four times as bad as the snow we are having. For some of you, your parents cannot afford shoes so you have to wear boxes instead of shoes walking in the snow. We know you debate if it is cold enough for shorts when you get the weather we are experiencing . We get it. However, we do not own cars with four-wheel drive. We do not have the resources to salt the streets or have access to snow plows. The closest object we own to an ice scraper is a credit card.  We would be job security for wreckers and car salesmen if we attempted to drive in these conditions.

Just to let you in on a secret, we are amused when people from colder areas complain about the heat down here. When people come to New Orleans sporting tank tops and flips in 70-degree weather and complain about feeling like they are being cooked alive, we cannot help but giggle. We are still debating which jacket to wear in 70-degree weather (fleece or windbreaker). With a light breeze and some shade, we will wear a jacket in 85-degree weather.  Come down when it is 99-degrees with high humidity. We will happily hand you a bottled water, some crawfish, and agree with you that it is hot outside!

15 thoughts on “The time I almost died in a snow storm. A story about survival and hope.”

  1. I loved it!! My brothers, your uncles did not really understand “southern cold” until they came in 30′ wind blowing weather and made comment “Wow this cold goes right to the bone” They have no humidity so cold is lower in temp but with no humidity our cold is colder!!

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