Thursday, July 31, 2014

From Facebook Photos to Snow Jam 2014



The Georgia January 28, 2014 snow storm started out like any other snow oddity in Georgia. As the ground started to be covered and snow collected on decks, regular TV programming was preempted so that Atlanta TV news coverage could be extended to cover all the snowball fights, fender benders, and Facebook pictures of rulers stuck in two inches of snow.

Seriously.


My personal ruler photo.
I didn't post it on Facebook, but I did post others.

This is Georgia. It's what we do when it snows, okay?

It did get redundant, yes. For awhile. Until it turned treacherous.

This was not our typical dusting, but an actual snow storm. Georgia only has a limited number of salt and sand trucks and snow plows. Even if we did, we still probably wouldn't do snow storms well.

Except for the higher elevations where it really does snow on occasion, in North Georgia we are accustomed to The Rule of Atlanta Snow Forecasting. The Rule states that if the meteorologists predict two or three inches of snow, absolutely nothing will happen. Nothing. Nada. It might rain, but that's it. If they say a few flurries or a light dusting, ninety percent of the time nothing will happen. In that other ten percent, we may end up with an inch or two. It's almost always a surprise.

The forecast called for a light dusting from Atlanta northward.

11:20 a.m.
There had been a little light
snowfall since before ten a.m.


Surprise!


2:28 p.m.










That "light dusting" quickly turned into two or three inches or more. The news coverage shifted from Facebook photos to treacherous road conditions, accidents, and roads and exit ramps clogged by motorists unable to get up the hills. Everybody at work in Atlanta all left for home at 12:30.




Doom came quickly. At 12:16 p.m., the interstates in Atlanta were clear and traffic was flowing smoothly. By 12:36, traffic was at a standstill.

No one went anywhere.

Hotels filled rapidly. Many people spent the night at work. Some took refuge in stores or restaurants.



 

My road at five o'clock, a time I normally have a hard time getting out of my driveway.

 

Friends of mine who were stuck in this mess spent twelve hours getting home. Many people were stranded in their cars for over 24 hours. Some abandoned them and walked miles in the snowstorm to refuge. Temperatures fell from the 20s into the teens.

The area school systems, which are sometimes ridiculed for cancelling school at the slightest chance of snow, uncharacteristically relied on the innocuous forecast and made the decision to dismiss early rather than close school for the day. By the time they released students, traffic conditions were already treacherous. Many school buses were in accidents, including one driven by a friend of mine. He and the kids on his bus were stranded in the ditch for hours. Other kids spent the night on their bus, and many, many more were returned to their school to spend the night.

So grateful I work at home.
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