The images on TV looked like a scene in the movies, Walking Dead or The Day After Tomorrow.
Thousands of people stranded in traffic for hours trying to make it home. Thousands of them would leave their cars on along the highway and WALK home in 20 degree weather.
Over 1000 of students were stranded at SCHOOL. Their buses could not pick them up from school nor could their parents.
Two and a half inches of snow
This was the scene in Atlanta on Tuesday.
A snow storm that swept through the deep south dumped snow on the ATL. I knew it was coming. Apparently, the government officials and the mayor of Atlanta, Karim Reed, didn't know it. We had been warned that we would be getting snow as early as last week. At one point last weekend, the prediction was that the snow would come to the areas far south of the city of Atlanta. Cities like Macon and Columbus would be hit with 4 inches of snow. The path of the snow storm changed on Monday and we were notified that metro Atlanta would get 1-2 inches. I learned this on MONDAY. I guess the governor, Nathan Deal, missed the memo, too. On Tuesday morning, schools were open. So were businesses and the government. I checked my weather app on my phone. It clearly said that the snow would start at 11am. I was cool because I was already at home. The kids were at school. My wife was already at work downtown. I looked out my window at 10 am. No snow. Did it at 11 am. No sign of snow. At noon I decided to step out of the crib. I walked outside and I see that the snow is coming down in buckets. Minutes later, I get a call from my son Kameron. He's at his middle school and he wants me to pick him up. I told him that I'd be there in 10 mins. I found it strange that the school was releasing kids. On my way to pick him up, I get an email from our school district office notifying parents that they can pick up their kids because they will be letting them out early. I thought to myself "did these fool NOT know that it was going to snow?"
Deion and Brandon caught the school bus home and everybody is home by 3 pm including my wife who left work at noon. I scoop up Skyler and everybody is safe at the crib. At this time, I'm still perplexed as to why people are having to scramble to get home. I looked outside and I knew that at some point the roads were going to get bad. It was rush hour. The temperature was about 25. The snow that had fallen was going to turn to ice on the roads that had not been treated. As it turns out, many of the major highways and interstates weren't.
I watched the news just like the rest of the world and saw the damage caused by this storm. Two inches of snow turned to ice and crippled the NINTH LARGEST CITY in the United States. People were stuck on the highways for 10 plus hours. No help. Can you imagine being in your car for 12 hours with no food or water? Can you imagine being stranded with nobody to help you? We're not talking about a Third World country. This is Atlanta, Ga! Can you imagine being told "we can't bring your child home and we'll take care of them at the school." Ohhh helllllllll no! I'd ride a bike to go pick up my kids if I had to.
Through the struggle, there were people who stepped up. I am always encouraged at what we can be as a society in the moments of tragedy. People don't tend to see colors or social status. From the guy who helped deliver a baby on the side of I-285 to people like my former teammate, Palmer. He brought snacks to a school bus that was stranded in his neighborhood then allowed them to spend the night in his home instead of on a cold bus. That's what you call "stepping up to the plate." You have to be thankful for people like that who were a blessing to others.
The governor, government officials, the mayor, and the metro school districts failed...miserably. They failed everybody in this city. They weren't prepared. Piss poor planning. You can't be open for business then try to send everybody home at 1:30. By then, you've got snow on the ground and it's a mad dash. The governor and the mayor made matters worse when they got on tv and tried to DEFEND the fact that they messed up. The mayor blamed the governor. The governor blamed the National Weather Service. C'mon son. Don't piss on us then tell us that it's raining. It was a bad PR move. They were trying to make Atlanta not look bad. Too late fellas. There are 6 million people in metro Atlanta but we can't get it right. They both talked about how it wasn't as bad as the ice storm in 2011. I think it was worse. We didn't have people stuck in cars and kids stuck in schools back then. Nevertheless, you can't point fingers. Step up and say..."Hey, I messed up." The mayor believes that Atlanta can host a Super Bowl once the new football stadium is built. Huh? This year's Super Bowl is on Sunday. Can you imagine how it would have been if the Super Bowl was HERE and this happened?
Over the past few days, I've seen alot of people being critical of Atlanta for "not being able to handle 2 inches of snow". In defense of Atlanta, this is not New York, Boston, Philly or Chicago. There are NO snow plows in this city. They treat the roads with salt and sand. That's it. Secondly, the roads turned to ice. I don't care who you are or where you're from...you can't drive on ice. I can drive in the snow. As many of you know, I worked in Minneapolis four years ago. I would work there during the week and fly home to Atlanta on the weekends. I had never driven in snow until I got there. I learned quickly. You could have 18 inches of snow on the ground in Minneapolis and the streets would be clear. Schools and businesses were open. Not only does the city have snow plows but you have tens of thousands of citizens who have snow removal equipment. We don't have that here. So...I will defend Atlanta in that aspect. You can't remove snow if you have nothing to remove it with. And there's no need to put millions of dollars into equipment that you may use every 4 or 5 yrs. But I won't defend Governor Deal or Mayor Reed. They dropped the ball at the 5 yard line. I think the "northerners" who find humor in southerners not being able to "handle snow" should take a moment and think...how would you feel if you or someone you loved was stranded and you couldn't get to them.
Memo to Deal and Reed...today is January 31st. We've probably got another 3 weeks of "winter" left. What are you gonna do the next time that there is a possibility of snow???