When I heard about the traffic jams in Atlanta, I called my mother.
“I’m at home. I left early,” she said.
Whew! She also commutes by bus, so she could have been part of the unlucky — those waiting for a bus or stuck on the bus.
I’m usually skeptical when someone talks about cold weather in Georgia. Some overreact and I was a bit irked when, locally, people were able to go into work two or more hours later because it was “too cold” a few weeks ago when temperatures dropped much lower than normal. Yes it was very cold. But I didn’t understand how the people around me, who went from their warm homes to their warm cars to their warm offices were concerned about the short walk inside of the building. It was a trek my cold-hating, scrawny butt also made.
So, when the people around me began getting concerned about snow on Tuesday, I just shook it off. It’s not like it’s never snowed down here before. It’ll be just like all the other times it’s snowed. Yay, Snow Day!
It finally did snow where I live that day — just before dark. Honestly, it snowed in Atlanta before it snowed here. People I talked to expected it to hit south Georgia first. Mother Nature had other plans. Atlanta, apparently, did not.
By now you know about the many stranded motorists and children. Quite honestly, the past few days have confused me, especially since it has snowed before in Georgia. It may not happen as often as other states — but it happens. I have lived in multiple cities in Georgia, including Atlanta, when it happened to snow, and each time the world wasn’t coming to an end.
To top it off and add to the drama of January’s snow days — leadership in Georgia proved to be in a hot mess. The governor, was defensive and using the lame excuse of “we didn’t know,” which led to him being called out by the freaking Weather Channel, and by many others.
It got me thinking about the whole idea of “the south can’t handle snow and ice.” Is it because we’re just unprepared for something that does happen occasionally? Is it because it’s no use in buying the equipment for an event that doesn’t happen every winter? It has snowed and iced in my current city more times than it’s been hit by a tornado. My city handled the snow and ice incredibly well this time, and we, given our population size, could have definitely been Atlanta on a smaller scale.
I think some planning could be done. As one person I spoke with put it, “We can be smart by staying off the roads!” To be cliche: Better safe than sorry, right? If we don’t have the equipment (and it’s not worth it) to salt or sand or prep the roads, there should be a plan B. There wasn’t a plan B. If there was, the blame game wouldn’t be happening now.
Fortunately, stores took in the stranded many who made themselves comfortable on floors and at tables. Individuals comforted each other, helped each other and were go-getters in relieving the stress of people they didn’t even know. So while the state government was a bit “frozen” on what to do, the people didn’t wait.
This is a lesson for all. While the weather can be unpredictable and the weather forecast can be inaccurate, preparedness on all levels is needed. Just like we have plans for storms, lets be prepared for snow and ice. And if we can’t count on the state, let’s count on ourselves to get through it.