I do understand that temperature is relative, so I will give you ATLiens a pass (as well as anyone else living in the South who wears shorts on Christmas day). The body can handle a 10 degree increase in temperature much better than it can handle a 5 degree drop in temperature, so I get it. You're cold. Every body is cold. I even posted this fun article on the 20 Cities That Can Complain About the Cold. It acknowledges the polar vortex and the fact that Al Gore had it all wrong about global warming (I may have added that last part). Warm deez.
This post is not directed at the citizens of the Atlanta metropolitan area or Southerners who don't have a warm coat. This post is dedicated to the Georgia state government, the Atlanta metro area government and how they did everything wrong.
First, lets lose the excuse that "we don't get weather like this." That is all the more reason for you to proceed with an abundance of caution. You don't know how to handle it and neither do your citizens. From what I saw on national news and social media, the roads were in horrible condition. I know that I have complained about the inadequate road conditions here in Indianapolis, but at least they were passable. The roads in Atlanta were iced over and impassable. The Atlanta metro government left their citizens to fend for themselves on icy roads. They saw the forecast and that the temperature 30 or so hours later would be back above 45 degrees; therefore deciding to let Mother Nature clear the roads. But here's the gotcha, Atlanta: you are a commuter city and you have to deal with the people on the roads right now. The majority of your citizens travel more than 30 - 40 miles to/from work. You put 6 million people at risk because "we don't get weather like this." Girl, what?! (clearly I've been listening to The Read too much). I heard it took people 6 - 18 hours to get home. You can almost drive through Texas in 18 hours. I can't even imagine.
|From Jemele Hill's Facebook page "How does this happen in 2014?"|
What the Atlanta and Georgia state government should have done was (because you don't get weather like this) issue a travel warning for essential travel only and when the storm hit, upgrade it to emergency vehicles only. This way your people are sufficiently warned not to travel and doing so will put themselves in danger. They are also alerted of the serious nature of this storm. No one seemed to know the danger they were about to face. It's like the entire city, all at once, looked at their respective time pieces (S/O to Chi Chi Omega) at 12:45 pm and said "Oh yeah, that storm was supposed to hit at 1 pm today. Let me go on home." Well here's another gotcha: none of you accounted for traffic. And how could you? Your city officials did not sufficiently warn you about the danger of the storm, nor did they let you in on the little secret that they were not going to treat the roads. The city of Atlanta (and metro area) failed its citizens yesterday, epically. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal should be ashamed of himself. These decisions should not have been placed on Mayor Kasim Reed to deal with alone. The city of Atlanta is small. The Atlanta metropolitan area is huge. The entire metro area should be all BP-Oil-Spill-Obama: "I need to know who's ass to kick."
The biggest tragedy of the Atlanta snowmaggedan came in their decision not to close schools. Let me get this straight ... Last week you closed the schools for the day because the temperature dropped into the teens, with a 5 - 7 degree wind chill. I get it you didnt want the kiddos waiting at the bus stop in frigid temps and riding to school with no heat on the bus. Faced with 3 inches of snow and icy roads that started during the school day, you don't deem it necessary to make the kids stay home. Who is making these decisions, Atlanta? They are failing you. Children are being left behind. I heard a school of 1,800 kids was stranded and had to sleep on the gym floor. The buses couldn't make it from the depot (or wherever they go during the day) back to the school to pick the kids up. Then you tell the parents to come pick up their children. What makes you think that Stacey's mom can get to her in the mini van if the buses can't? Many heads should roll for this. Governor Deal, I'm looking at you.
Meanwhile, 300 miles south east in Charleston, South Carolina (my home town), the Holy City was faced with the same weather forecast. The only difference is that the storm was expected to hit Charleston at 5 pm instead of 1 pm (Jack Bauer 24 voice). Charleston city officials, unlike Atlanta, did everything right.
|Hey, Boo. Hey|
- First, the Governor got involved. Then she declared a state of emergency. This essentially allows for federal funding to support preventative and relief efforts for the entire area. Individual cities and local mayors can now work together to protect their citizens. This also rids you of the excuse "we don't get weather like this." Declaring a state of emergency acknowledges that very statement and puts a plan in place to do something about it.
- The Governor closed all government offices on the day of the storm (to prevent citizens from getting caught in evening rush hour traffic when the storm was supposed to hit) and the day after the storm (because they knew they couldn't adequately treat the roads this kept people off the roads until Mother Nature could do her thing a day later). Are you reading this Atlanta? Take notes.
- The Governor closed all schools the day the storm was supposed to hit and the day after. This takes the responsibility off individual school boards to decide whether or not they should close, delay or end early. The Governor took the heat for that. She made the decision so if parents got mad, they can come for Governor Haley's wig. But don't come for her unless she sends for you. She ain't got time.
- I found out earlier today, that schools will also be closed on Thursday because overnight lows will be in the teens and Mother Nature won't be able to do her job unthawing the city until midday.
- She closed the bridges. We all know that bridges (and overpasses) ice before the roads. It's colder up there. Not only did she close the bridges, but she let everyone know at what time she was going to close the bridges. This gives the private sector and everyone else time to plan accordingly.
Charleston, had a plan. Atlanta did not. This meme explains it all ...
One bright spot in this whole ordeal was a story a co-worker told me today about her friend who was stuck in traffic in Atlanta. After several hours of not moving, she realized that she may have to sleep in her car. So she calls her husband to give him the update. He confirms her location and hangs up. Oh, but that was not the end. He put on his boots, hat, gloves, scarf, threw a bag over his shoulder and walked 10 miles to find his wife. They were able to move her car to a nearby convenience store parking lot and grab a few more supplies. Together, they walked the 10 miles back to their home. Bae was like, tha hell my wife is gonna spend the night in her car on the side of the road without me. Dude was not playing. Just a few years ago he made them vows in front of God and their family to be there for better or for worse. I heard people roasted them on Facebook calling out their newlywed behaviors. Can you sit your bitter, lonely, unhappy ass down. This man took his vows seriously, and how the heck was he supposed to sleep knowing his wife is stuck in her car by herself? The Georgia Dome has 71, 228 seats for you to choose from:
So what did y'all think of this situation? Anyone from Atlanta want to share their experience? Midwest / Northeast peeps feel free to chime in too. Did I miss something?