Lakeland experienced a significant slowdown as winter weather, which matched expert predictions, swept through the city over the past 24 hours. Weather forecasts accurately anticipated 3 to 8 inches of snow, and Lakeland found itself covered by approximately 5 inches starting on Sunday afternoon, January 14, 2023, continuing into Monday, January 15.
The winter storm left roads in Lakeland icy and snow-covered, creating hazardous driving conditions. Despite the challenges, the Public Works department worked overtime to clear major thoroughfares and ensure safe passage for vehicles. Lakeland City Manager, Michael Walker, acknowledged the efforts, stating that even though City Hall was officially closed, teams were actively working to enhance roadway safety. “The Public Works team has been working since yesterday in response to the weather,” Walker said, highlighting their early start at 3 am to acquire salt from Shelby County to spread on local roads.
Most residents opted to stay indoors, with many enjoying the snowfall from the comfort of their homes by the fireplace. Local children, already out of school for MLK Day, seized the opportunity to bring out their sleds, delighting in the winter wonderland on the levee at Garner Lake and IH Clubhouse on Canada Road. Some adventurous adults ventured out for errands, frequenting local establishments like Starbucks, Portales Mexican Restaurant and Lake District Wine and Liquor, all of whom opened for some of the day.
As Lakeland grapples with extremely cold temperatures expected to persist over the next few days, officials warn of the possibility of more snow on Thursday. Road conditions are expected to remain precarious for at least the next three days. This winter event marks the first significant snowfall since February 2021 when Lakeland experienced nearly 10 inches over a week-long period.