In case anyone is wondering why schools in the South close down at the mere mention of snow, take today in Atlanta as an example. Students and faculty are spending the night in a handful schools across the metro area, emergency shelters are opening up to provide stranded motorists a place to stay after spending HOURS in standstill traffic (usually because they ran out of gas!), GADOT reports over 940 accidents today, folks are opening up their homes to others in need across the metro area: the city basically shut down.
Forecasts initially called for snow to hit around noon, just south of the city, with a *possible* light dusting to the north. This was not so. I picked up my daughter from preschool at 11:45 today, and saw a small handful of flakes on the way home. Within 45 minutes, it started to fall fast. Within about an hour, the entire Atlanta area was covered in snow, which fell for several hours.
The last time we saw snow was 2011, but not really. That was a little snow, with a LOT of ice for a week after. Honestly, we get this maybe every 3 years. Tops.
Atlanta is not equipped for snow. Moreover, Atlanta is not equipped to deal with snow when EVERYONE rushes out to get home at the same time. There was a MAD rush around 1:00 to get home AND to pick up kids from schools that decided then and there to close early, once folks saw just how things were shaping up. Essentially, the entire city tried to go home all at once. In the meantime, the roads started freezing up, but the salt trucks couldn’t get out there due to the heavy traffic.
From the safety and warmth of my home on the corner of a semi-busy street, I watched a steady (slow) stream of cars flow by, all filled with folks anxiously wanting to get home. Many of my former coworkers are spending the night at the elementary school, comforting kids who could not get home – some as young as four years old. My neighbor teaches at a private school near the airport, usually about a 45-60 minute commute. It took her well over five hours to get home. And she was lucky: she drives a Prius. Many many many others were not so fortunate, either for running out of gas, or hitting a patch of ice they couldn’t handle, or bumping in to others on the road – all because they found themselves in a situation they weren’t used to and didn’t know how to handle.
School buses were abandoned, unable to make it up hills across the areas – so parents were forced to get out in the mess to retrieve their children or put their faith in their children’s school’s faculty and staff to provide a safe and warm place for them to sleep for the night.
It’s a mess, y’all. No one expected this, nor foresaw the nasty heartbreaking repercussions. All over a few flakes. Well, 3″ of flakes, to be exact.
Amidst this chaos, amazing human compassion has unfolded in overwhelming spirit. People opening their homes to perfect strangers, stranded by the mess. People walking in this arctic weather to help support a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, thanks to the amazing power of Facebook. The governor declared a state of emergency, and rightfully so – it’s 1 a.m., and people on the highways are STILL stranded on now icy roads. I pray that when I wake up in the morning, the traffic has eased, and those stranded either have found a warm place to stay, or have found their way home.
Either way, tomorrow (Wednesday) will be a day at home for hopefully most. I plan to spend short bursts outside with the kids, experimenting with colored water paint in the snow/ice, building snowmen, and perhaps a snowball fight or two – along with many other get-you-moving inside games and activities. (Because, honestly, we just don’t have proper snow gear, so short trips outside!)
In any case, prayers and warm thoughts to the entire metro Atlanta area. Amidst all this mess, I’m proud to see all the kind acts emerge.Keep on saving! :o)
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