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EDITORIAL: Yorkers weather storm

York Dispatch
Fabian Ortiz, of Springettsbury Township, blows his sidewalk as snow continues to accumulate during Winter Storm Jonas in York, Pa. on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. (Dawn J. Sagert - The York Dispatch)

Blue skies and bright sunshine Sunday belied the aftermath of a historic East Coast storm that pounded York – and the entire mid-Atlantic this past weekend. More than 30 inches fell in and around York.

The “biggest storm in living memory” for places like York and Harrisburg, is how Gov. Tom Wolf described it during a briefing on Sunday.

There was property damage, and digging out takes time, but York countians – in general – did a good job of preparing in advance – as exhibited by the crowds in the grocery stores on Friday – and staying off the roads for the duration.

Elsewhere, at least 18 deaths were blamed on the weather, resulting from car crashes, shoveling snow and hypothermia. Extremely heavy snow and high wind gusts reduced visibility to zero, toppled trees and caused power outages.

Closer to home, we’d like to recognize good Samaritans and professionals who helped us deal with a dangerous storm with potentially dire consequences to minimize injury and damage, to help keep people safe.

The storm initially picked up warm water from the Gulf of Mexico, and then gained much more moisture from the warmer-than-usual Gulf Stream off the East Coast.

A perfect storm, so to speak, of brutally high winds, dangerous inland flooding, whiteout conditions and rare thunder snow, created the once-in-a-decade (or more) snowstorm, forecasters said.

Forty inches of snow fell in a rural area of West Virginia, not far from Harper’s Ferry, according to unofficial statistics at the National Weather Service.

Glengary, West Virginia, topped the charts for the East Coast blizzard with 40 inches, but 67 locations — including York — reported at least 2 feet of snow.

Dulles International Airport outside of Washington was just behind at 30 inches of snow, which puts it third all time for that location.

Here in Pennsylvania, 20-plus counties issued emergency declarations and more than 210 municipalities issued snow emergencies in order to allow for more resources to take care of everyone.

Folks here are hardy – and generous – and so we take in stride such challenges and react accordingly.

In fact, the “real restraint” shown by Yorkers who chose to stay off the roads during the storm “made all the difference in the world,” Wolf said, in allowing Pa. highway crews to do their challenging jobs.

It's good to be reminded that when challenges arrive - natural or otherwise — our residents can weather the storm with equal parts restraint and persistence. That's the silver lining to storm Jonas, the 2016 blizzard not only for the record books but for our scrap books, as well.