We didn’t see much of the big scary winter storm here, to be honest–there’s enough snow to make my mother-in-law really, really happy. Our driveway and the cul-de-sac in front of the house have a glaze of ice on them, and my father-in-law, who usually backs his truck up our slightly-hilly driveway, had to pull in because he couldn’t get enough traction backing up to make it up the incline. Bo and Gabby didn’t quite know what to make of this white stuff on the ground. Bo played it safe and tried to stay out of it. Gabby just panicked. Poor baby.
But my goodness, Atlanta. I really think the people of that area should be asking some hard questions when this is all cleaned up. Yes, the snow came in heavier and earlier than anybody predicted, but it’s not like it came out of nowhere. I think too many people were taking too many chances yesterday. I don’t think most of the people who ended up getting stuck in the monster traffic jams had any business being out on the road, because I’ve lived in Georgia just long enough to know that most people down here don’t know how to handle a heavy rainstorm, let alone ice and snow (though, to be fair, my experience is with people about a hundred miles south of the northern part of the Perimeter, and we’ve got a ton of military folks who have lived all over the place, so some of them are better drivers than others). They certainly shouldn’t have sent kids up there to school, even if they did plan on sending them home early.
Down here, we’ve got a little ice. A little snow. All the neighbor kids are having a great time playing in it. The disruptions to my life have been minimal–our power didn’t even go out. But I really hope the next time something like this happens, people remember what yesterday was like.
If you have any doubt in your ability to safely and efficiently get from Point A to Point B, do yourself and everyone else a favor and stay home. Personally, I feel like the people who left home yesterday for anything other than a life-or-death emergency situation, the people who went out yesterday even though they don’t know how to drive on ice, and the people who even thought they or their car might have some difficulty in yesterday’s weather (which was fairly mild by my standards, having grown up in the Lake Michigan snowbelt) should be ashamed of themselves. When you get out into a place like metro Atlanta, where traffic is can be an absolute nightmare when it’s sunny and 75, and you’re not prepared for the weather (this also applies to the people whose cars ran out of gas just an hour or two into the gridlock, because you know they didn’t even consider what kind of situation they could be getting into), you are potentially putting not just yourself, but other people, in danger. Even if you don’t cause or get into an accident yourself, you’re one more person sitting on the road panicking, and when there are tens of thousands of people just like you out there, it adds up.
Obviously you can’t just stay home all the time, or sleep under your desk at work every night, but you could have yesterday. When the National Weather Service’s Atlanta-area office had most of their Georgia coverage area under a winter storm watch, then upgraded to a winter storm warning, you really should be taking it seriously. (I have an immense amount of respect for some of what the Weather Channel does, but I also feel like they play up the drama angle in some weather situations–when I got in touch with my grandfather this morning to let him know I’m okay, he was really worried because they were talking all about how awful it was in Atlanta and he assumed the rest of Georgia had to be in pretty bad shape too.) Playing it safe is key, even if it makes you look like a chicken. I wouldn’t have any problem going out and driving right now–I know how to drive on ice and snow, you learn that when you grow up in a place where it’s winter five or six months out of the year–I’d be worried about getting hit by those people who feel the need to go out when they don’t know what they’re doing and have no business being on the road.
For heaven’s sake, southerners, please stay home. For all of us.