Here's my rant about the Atlanta SnowJam 2014. It's probably different than what you're expecting. I'm not mad at the mayor or the governor or the weather forecasters. I'm tired of listening to the media's incessant questions about who is to blame and why we were not more prepared. I'd love to go back in time and put one of those reporters in charge, without the benefit of their self-righteous hindsight.
One reporter even asked the ridiculous question of why Governor Deal didn't tell businesses to close for the day, before the snow started. Imagine the complaints officials would be bombarded with if he had done that and the snow turned out the be a non-event.
When we have weather events like this in Atlanta, they're often hard to predict up until the last minute. We've had plenty of false alarms, so it makes it difficult for schools and businesses to close based on a sketchy forecast, which is what we had. The local forecast I heard in the morning was talking about a dusting to less than an inch in the northern suburbs and an inch in the city. We would not have had nearly the travel issues we had if that forecast had held true, and it could easily have gone the other way, with no snow at all.
With the media (and parents) seeking to place blame, you can bet that next time public officials will err on the side of caution, so for some time I fully expect there to be school closings when nothing more than flurries are predicted. That will continue until people complain about the inconvenience of the schools closing for no reason.
One other rant. The people up north need to keep their mouths shut until they've walked a mile in our snow shoes. They have no idea what it's like here. While it may only be a few inches of snow, no one has snow tires or chains here, most streets were not treated, and we are situated on a piedmont with lots of rolling hills. Also, snow here often has a layer of ice underneath it. They would be sliding all over the place, too.
So, did we learn anything?
- No amount of snow clearing equipment will work if every business dismisses it's employees at the same time. It's worse than rush hour traffic. You get everyone on the road at the same time with the roads somewhat slippery, and it only takes a few inexperienced or careless drivers to bring everything to a halt. I don't know if there is a solution for that, since the most the government can do is make a recommendation as far as private businesses are concerned. They can't force businesses to stagger release of their employees.
- We need to take more seriously forecasts of daytime snow when the temperature is below freezing. That's a rare thing in Atlanta. Usually when it starts snowing in Atlanta it's at night, it's been relatively warm prior to the snow, and the temperature is generally above freezing when it starts.
- The schools should have closed for the day, even with the sketchy forecast. Since any amount of snow on already cold ground can cause travel problems here, they should seriously consider closing school if it's below freezing and anything more than flurries is predicted. I think the schools were operating on the premise that if it started snowing they could send the kids home with no problem.