|Peachtree Parkway, January 17, 2018. Photo by Robert J. Nebel|
Here we go again with the ongoing saga of winter in the South. After being in this region for many moons, the whole discussion is beyond tiresome. With every snow and/or ice event, it all plays out like the 1993 Bill Murray film feature Groundhog Day, a story where a man wakes up to the same day repeatedly. Just like the recent December 2017 and January 17 snow events that hit the Atlanta metro area, the Bill Murray film will constantly be playing on some television outlets, most appropriately on, Groundhog Day, which there will be many prayers going on with what Punxsutawney Phil will do on that day.
Speaking of groundhogs, did you know that Georgia's groundhog will be appearing, most appropriately, in Butts County - which, by the way, is covered in snow as I write this post. Yes, Butts County and points north and south have been blanketed by snow on January 17. The extent of this snowfall was unexpected to a degree. Just like the event that took place in December 2017, the weather forecasters were not exactly on the mark with their predictions. We were told that a dusting would occur north of I-20 and at least one to two inches would plague folks south of that freeway. It's fun to hear weather prognosticators use the freeways as a demarcation line as if the impending snow storm is anthropomorphic and "knows" where I-20 is located. I think we are giving these storms their own personalities. In fact, The Weather Channel names every winter storm.
On both the occasions of December 2017 and January 17th's case, these areas received more snow than expected, which is fine. We learned from the professionals that snowfall is tough to predicted because the approaching weather systems may change on a dime.
|Snow hits "Abomination Island." Photo by Robert J. Nebel|
Of course with every snow event in the South, we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. If officials like city leaders and school superintendents choose to shut down, they are criticized for overreacting when the bad weather misses the area. Even if they choose to shutdown and the weather hits the area, they are criticized for not responding quickly enough to the disaster and getting things back up and running sooner rather than later. It's even worse if nothing happens as what took place on January 8th. Freezing rain was predicted, but it never arrived, but school was canceled on that day. Some thought it was a conspiracy to call off school in order for the metro area to prepare for the College Football National Championship which took place on the evening of January 8th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.
Flash forward to Wednesday, January 17, 2017. We received the surprise in the morning, which to be honest, hasn't happened in a few years. The previous recent snow events took place later in the day. Common sense prevailed with the majority of people staying at home, school called off, many businesses shuttered and emergency crews doing their best to clear the roads while first responders helped folks in accidents or getting stuck on the roads.
Just about every snow event in the Atlanta metro area gets greeted with scoffs from our northern brethren. Once again, we are left to defend that we shut the metro area down because we have very little snow removal equipment -- since these events are rare in the South. And every single time we have to state that with snow in metro Atlanta means that driving is beyond treacherous no matter drivers' experience operating vehicles on ice.
Certainly those with all-wheel drive vehicles are at an advantage, but for the most part, it's just not smart to attempt to drive on thoroughly untreated roadways - even though our snow totals are miniscule compared to those who come from the Northeastern or Midwestern US and dealt with far more snow and ice for years.
As with every snow and ice episode, I enjoy walking and sometimes, running carefully in the snow. I have some photos that accompany this post. Also as I write this post, school was canceled for Thursday, January 18.
|Some ventured out on the snow and ice-covered streets of Peachtree Corners, GA. Photo by Robert J. Nebel|