Tuesday around noontime, Winter Storm Leon hit our great state of Georgia. The state was in a frenzy, but since we get so many false alarms here in the South when it comes to snowy, wintery weather, despite plenty of warning, the state and Atlanta city governments were caught completely unprepared and mass chaos ensued.
School children (even ELEMENTARY school children) were stuck in their schools since the school systems shut down bus service due to dangerous driving conditions. School personnel (aka HEROES) stayed all night with the children when their parents were unable to get to them and pick them up. The principal of the school my sister in law teaches at stayed at school with two kindergarteners who's parents were stuck and unable to pick them up. Can you imagine how scary that was for those poor children? And how distraught their parents must've been?
Commutes that typically took 15-20 minutes took 5-6 HOURS and sometimes more. Once of Scott's work associates (who actually had to camp out with us since he and Scott were coming in from an event out of town and he couldn't make it home) spoke with his wife, who's normal 12 mile commute takes about 30 minutes, and she was in the car for 11 HOURS trying to get home last night. My sister in law was in the car with my one year old niece for 5 HOURS as they braved the roads coming home from work. Everyone has a story, or has heard a story like it.
I think we have a "boy who cried wolf" kind of attitude towards bad weather predictions here in Georgia. There are so many times during the winter that bad weather is predicted, schools are closed and preparations are made, and then just a cold front comes through with nothing worthy of all the costly arrangements. But then, the one time that Mother Nature does bring her wrath, and the city and state governments don't respond, this is what happens. Here's another great explanation as to how all this happened.
Everyone makes fun when we close schools in Georgia due to cold weather (especially if you have ever lived in a colder climate, like me, who in 2 years of high school in Iowa and 4 years of college in Nebraska, had winters FULL of snow and blizzards, and maybe missed 2 days of school due to the conditions), but my take on it? Better to be safe than sorry. I think Al Roker feels the same too:
There were stories of the heroes too. The teachers and administrators who stayed at schools to take care of the stranded children. People driving their four-wheelers along the interstates that had become parking lots, handing out homemade sandwiches and bottles of water. Home Depots and Krogers that stayed open to provide bathroom facilities and safe places to sleep for commuters, who would otherwise have to sleep in their cars. Chick Fil A made chicken sandwiches and handed them out for free along 285. Michelle Sollicito, an Atlanta resident who made it home from work early in the day, and then created the Facebook group Snowed Out Atlanta, who helped put commuters in need in touch with family members and other residents willing to offer assistance (which, as of Thursday afternoon, had over 46,000 members!). Even former Atlanta Braves player, Chipper Jones was out on rescue runs!But seriously, if there was a silver lining to all of this, it was the good Samaritans and neighbors coming together to help each other during crisis. We're not known for our winter snow storms here in the South, but we are certainly known for our kindness and hospitality, even among strangers.
As for us, THANKFULLY, we hit the grocery store Tuesday morning, and stocked up on our weekly supplies (we were going anyway, it wasn't a frantic trip), and I picked the girls up from school right as the snow started to fall. We stayed inside most of the day, but did have a little fun in the powdery white stuff. :)
And we even did a bit of redneck laundry basket sledding in the front yard... :)
Then we came inside for hot chocolate, movies, a nice warm fire, and lots of snuggling.
Scott had an event in Augusta, and thankfully made it home with no real delays or problems. As I stated above, though, his associate, who lives in Atlanta, stayed with us since we knew he'd never make it home in all the Atlanta traffic mess!
So, other than some sledding fun and pretty views of our front yard, Snowpocalpse 2014 didn't affect our immediate family much. But, it was a real failure for our state and city, and put so, SO many people in dangerous and scary situations, separated from their families, with no real idea of when help would come. Hopefully the mayor and governor will learn some lessons from this weather catastrophe, and Atlanta won't be the laughing stock in the future that it has been this week.