So last week it decided to actually snow. Winter wonderland, ha! It began coming down pretty fast and actually sticking around noon. Our corporate office made us leave work early. I still had a patient and one thing that I absolutely had to get done just in case we weren’t in the office the next day or next few days. I went out to start my car and it was covered in snow, had to use a broom instead of a window scraper to get the snow and ice off of it. In that 30 minutes of finishing things up and letting my car warm up, traffic got bad. Apparently everyone was releasing their employees at the same time. It took me 2 hours to get home.
The first hour and a half my car did not reach over 10 mph. After I got past where 400 and 285 intersect it was ok. The roads were slippery and slushy but I’m guessing because of all the traffic at that interchange, the roads at that point were clear. Once I got past that it seemed like the road was wide open. Then all of a sudden traffic slowed down again. I thought to myself “oh no this is gonna end up being another hour or two to make it the rest of the way”. So, after being stuck behind someone going no more than 10 mph for about 5 minutes I thought “let me see if I can switch lanes and go around.” As I did, I looked over at the driver. She looked as though she was at the most 19 or 20 years old. She was in the middle lane, hands on 10 and 2 (which by the way boils my blood). As I made my way around her the road again was wide open. I was livid. Because of this one person, traffic was forming for no reason. I began yelling to myself “why can’t people be smart. If you know you can’t drive in this weather get over into the slow lane. That’s what it’s made for”. I was almost home and still cursing about it. Then I had to take a step back and realize just because I’m from up north and I’m used to driving in the snow and or ice doesn’t mean Georgians are and especially not someone as young as 19 or 20.
I finally made it home after two hours on the road when it would’ve only taken at the most 25 minutes at that time of day. Later that evening speaking to my father in Philly he tells me that the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed states that he has spent millions dollars on SAND. Not salt but sand, to help clear roads in these conditions. Smh sand is not enough! This man needs to invest in salt and salt trucks. There were numerous reports on local stations reporting that some motorists were stuck in traffic overnight, that highways and roads were shut down and a winter warning was still in effect until about 1pm Wednesday.
So Wednesday comes and the roads were still terrible. 400 northbound and southbound was shut down, 285 W was still gridlocked, 285 E in some places were shut down due to accidents, and 85 was a ghost town. The ice was definitely worse than the snow that fell the day before. Like I said before, sand wasn’t going to do the trick. Children stranded on buses on the highways for hours and some almost an entire day. Some motorist abandoned their cars on the side of the road, highways and in random parking lots and walked to a safe and warmer place. Some people ran out of gas and had no choice but to leave their vehicle. There were even some stores that opened their doors to stranded people so they would at least have a warm place to wait things out.
Bottom line Atlanta is never ready for a winter storm no matter how “ready” they claim to be. I think most living in Atlanta never think that it’s actually going to snow so they don’t prepare. It’s not only the snow that they need to be concerned with but more so the after effects of a snow storm, the ice. When they are unprepared for the snow is one thing but, when they are unprepared for the ice there are consequences for days. There should be absolutely no reason why 2 inches of snow and some ice should constitute a state of emergency and the National Guard being called in to help. If the North and Midwest can get multiple feet of snow and still operate why can’t the South? I understand that it’s not often but why not have things in place and the proper things at that so that in the event something does actually transpire you are completely ready and things will go smoothly and the entire city will not be shut down.