It seems strange that this time last year Howell was under more than two feet of snow while we wait for the first big storm of this season. Even Tuesday's drenching rainstorm was nothing compared to the blizzard of 2010 that brought the township and the surrounding area to a standstill.
Since that time the township administration has taken steps to learn from the storm to help the residents in the future. And while some of those changes have not been fully tested, others have helped out following other natural disasters.
The storm on Dec. 26 of 2010 but its full impact was being felt several days later. It was not until the first few days of 2011 that residents were able to get out of their houses and without too much of a problem.
In light of what many hope will be a once in a lifetime storm, the township council spent time after the final flakes fell to capabilities. That work lead to the implementation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). One of the first true tests of the EOC was not another winter storm but rather when they were coordinating how to help residents through incredible flooding.
When the winter storms do arrive in Howell this winter it will be interesting to see not only if there are improvements because of the EOC, but also how other challenges will be handled. One of the biggest complaints residents had following the winter was an ordinance that requires all cars and sports equipment to be removed during a storm.
Some of the complaints included not only the amount of the fine, but also the mandatory court appearance that came with it. Several residents also expressed concerns about the fact that with all the snow that fell there was simply nowhere else to park their cars. All of this was brought to the council's attention during one February .
The National Weather Service is not calling for snow in the five day forecast, but with calendar turning to 2012 the first big storm cannot be too far away. It remains to be seen what the impact of that storm will be on the township and the residents.