Ballantyne spared worst of storm

If Engine 32’s onboard computer was any indication, one of the city’s southernmost communities escaped the worst of Charlotte’s biggest storm in a decade.

Thursday morning, Fire Station 32’s Capt. Charlie Horne said its screen flashed with incidents across the city. But in the past 24 hours, Horne said Ballantyne had only about 7 routine calls, a normal load.

“When it’s this bad, even people who want to get out can’t,” Horne said.

Horne said the top priority for emergency responders was checking stranded cars for motorists in need of help. He said a 12-person National Guard crew has used Humvees to reach difficult areas elsewhere in Charlotte.

With deeply rutted secondary roads difficult to navigate, pedestrians outnumbered cars.

People walked dogs, plodded to the Bi-Lo for groceries or looked for places to sled. Folks marveled at how 6 inches of snow had transformed the landscape into scenes typically reserved for entries at the Ballantyne Hotel’s annual gingerbread house contest.

Remarkably, some managed to stick to their normal schedule.

Jared Boden, a pilot, navigated his pickup through unplowed roads and a parking lot to get in a workout at Snap Fitness.

At Kelilabee Flower Company, Doug Mannon filled the back of his Subaru with six rose arragements for delivery. Business has suffered, owner Meghan Mannon said, in part because people don’t know where their loved ones will be – at work or home.

“Tomorrow should be fine,” she said.