Traffic apocalypse: Snow in the southeast leaves commuters, schoolkids stranded all day on the roads

posted at 11:21 am on January 29, 2014 by Allahpundit

And by “all day,” I mean 18 hours or more. Some people were out there overnight. The lucky ones were close enough to a Home Depot or supermarket that they simply pulled over, walked to the store, and slept in the aisles.

As Chris Hayes said, it’s not every day you see a headline in a major paper with the words “unspeakably horrible” in it.

Gridlock on the interstates this morning continues to frustrate drivers still trying to get home on a commute that started Tuesday

Students remain stranded at schools, as commuters lucky enough to make their way to makeshift shelters begin waking up in churches, fire houses and stores that remained open all night to provide a warm place to stay as temperatures plummeted into the teens…

“It’s a horrible, horrible, horrible situation for people who are stuck out there,” said Barron, her eyes filling with tears. “I sit there and think about the mothers whose children are stuck in school buses… But people need to understand our folks are working as tedious as they can. This is a really hard situation for everybody.”…

A single dump truck can treat about 2.5 miles of one lane of pavement, according to Barron. Each time the trucks are stopping to reload (a process which takes 30 to 45 minutes not taking into account long traffic delays) they are returning to find that areas they just treated are refreezing.

The immediate problem according to the AJC is 18-wheelers struggling to get traction on the icy roads, especially roads with inclines. The deeper problem is a lack of planning: Not only do many southeastern cities not spend big bucks on snow management for obvious reasons (although Atlanta had promised to be better prepared next time after an ice storm three years ago), but Atlanta apparently made a key mistake in not closing down schools and other government offices once the forecast called for snow. This guy at MetaFilter, whose comment was also flagged by Hayes, says that the city government didn’t decide to call it a day until the snow was already falling. Everyone ended up on the roads at the same time, producing the bottleneck from hell, and the paralysis on the roads meant that cars weren’t moving fast enough to burn off the snow that had already accumulated through simple friction. And of course, the traffic’s compounded by city vehicles belatedly trying to salt the roads or, in some extreme cases, rescue people. If you can believe it, there were reportedly still 50 or so kids in Atlanta trapped on their buses early this morning after leaving school yesterday shortly after noon to beat the snow.

If you’re a kid and you’re stuck with friends someplace warm with food and bathrooms, like at school, this might be a fond memory someday. If you’re anyone else, wilting behind the wheel in the cold at 3 a.m. with no food or toilet or sleeping on the floor at CVS after abandoning your car, it’ll be … not so fond. Any HA readers who were lost in the gridlock wilderness last night are invited to share their stories in the comments. Exit quotation from Atlanta’s mayor, tweeting before the storm hit: “Atlanta, we are ready for the snow.”

Update: Good lord. From the comments:

My wife left work at 3pm yesterday afternoon,15 miles, still not home! Gas stations ran out of gas, hills impossible to climb. They did not pre-treat the roads which iced over almost immediately.Everyone hit the roads at the same time.Average commute is 30 miles. Nightmare.


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Standing Still.

Bmore on January 29, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Very Quiet For A Change.

Bmore on January 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM

“The science is settled. Global warming is real” — pajama-obama

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

The ATL is never ready for snow. Its no ones fault on this one. Folks need to quit the blame game and be better prepared in the future. They won’t though.

Bmore on January 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

So that’s why Northeasterners are grouchy all the time!

rhombus on January 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

According to Al Gore, we need more of this kind of weather.

Vanceone on January 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

There have been multiple facebook groups created to help people who are stranded connect to people near them who can offer a warm place to stay, food and water. It is scary to see some of the posts; some people in there cars for 18 hours, running out of gas, phone dying…very scary. I’ve been keeping an eye out but it doesn’t appear I’m near anyone posting on ther even though I’m only 2 miles off of I85.

Donald Draper on January 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

The Weather Channel gave them 24 hrs notice.

Akzed on January 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Being from NY I’d scoff at Southerners when I lived in SC over their reaction to the snow. I also welcomed that they’d shut the city down on those rare snow events. If you’re not used to the snow, stay home.

rbj on January 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

“How can Aaaa cash in on global coolin?’ credits?” — AlGore

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

As a former resident of Atlanta’s suburbs and current resident of Florida…

I’d still rather live in the South than anywhere else in the world.

Defenestratus on January 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Actually he said last night that climate change was real. And for once I agreed. It is changing in FL, GA, AL. LOL

ConservativePartyNow on January 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

That said, the South really doesn’t know how to drive in snow. And they should have been out salting the roads BEFORE the storm hit. Here in Utah the state has taken to spraying down the roads with brine before the storm hits. The salt water doesn’t freeze, and helps melt the snow falling on it.

Vanceone on January 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

I got to read a post on FB about how all of this is normal and we shouldn’t be ragging on how Global WArming isn’t real…

Then I saw that it snowed in FLORIDA.

NerwenAldarion on January 29, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Exit quotation from Atlanta’s mayor, tweeting before the storm hit: “Atlanta, we are ready for the snow.”

Winner of the Ray Nagin Memorial Worst Mayor in America Award for 2014.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Actually he said last night that climate change was real. And for once I agreed. It is changing in FL, GA, AL. LOL

ConservativePartyNow on January 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Don’t fall for the Goebellian propaganda term of “global change”.

Change is as certain as cement hardening, a catch-all for any second’s change.

Stick to their initial “global warming”. They own it, in full.

Call them leftists, never truly liberal or progressive.

If you don’t, they win, every time, and laugh at you, while you pay for them.

Schadenfreude on January 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM

I was one of the lucky ones. It took my only 2 hours to get home and I live only 6 miles from work and didn’t have to get on the highway.

The problem is that the snow hit in the middle of the workday, and all of the schools, govt, and businesses decided to close at the same time and send everyone home. Rush “hour” is normally spread out over 4 hours, but yesterday it happened all at once and at the same time as schools letting out and some of the roads were frozen over and only got worse.

I myself knew that there was snow in the forecast, but didn’t take it that seriously because the weather reports always seem to exaggerate snow forecasts for Atlanta. When the schools try to anticipate the forecast and close the night before, they get complaints that they are being too cautious if the snow doesn’t appear.

cep on January 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Al Gore is out hunting ManBearPig in Tanzania or he would be all over this mess rescuing stranded travelers in his invisible jet.

KMC1 on January 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

My wife left work at 3pm yesterday afternoon,15 miles, still not home! Gas stations ran out of gas, hills impossible to climb. They did not pre-treat the roads which iced over almost immediately.Everyone hit the roads at the same time.Average commute is 30 miles. Nightmare.

tim c on January 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Up north, we don’t plow an inch of snow. Not being prepared for it is not an argument. Buck up, wussies.

matd on January 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Damn… this global warm’n is make’n me thirsty….

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 29, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Exit quotation from Atlanta’s mayor, tweeting before the storm hit: “Atlanta, we are ready for the snow.”

Winner of the Ray Nagin Memorial Worst Mayor in America Award for 2014.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Speaking of Schoolbus Ray, his Federal corruption trial started in New Orleans on Monday. Should be fun to watch!

Del Dolemonte on January 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Very Quiet For A Change.

Bmore on January 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM

.
WOULD YOU PLEASE “PIPE DOWN”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . thank you

listens2glenn on January 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

the city government didn’t decide to call it a day until the snow was already falling. Everyone ended up on the roads at the same time, producing the bottleneck from hell,

If only there were a way to predict these things before the snow starts falling! If only!!!

Seriously, same thing happened here in DC about three years ago. Carmaggedon was the result of OPM (which is a trigger for a lot of non-government organizations too) putting everybody on the road just as an ice storm hit the area. The forecasts had all said the storm would begin about 3pm and the storm hit at 3pm but the next morning major roads looked like the highway of death during Desert Storm.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Up north, we don’t plow an inch of snow. Not being prepared for it is not an argument. Buck up, wussies.

matd on January 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

And our plow truck drivers also are smart enough to back down the icy hills, sanding them as they back down.

Del Dolemonte on January 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Up north, we don’t plow an inch of snow. Not being prepared for it is not an argument. Buck up, wussies.

matd on January 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

That’s a clown comment, bro. Comparing snow and ice in Atlanta to that of a northern city is apples and oranges. The prep up north is much better. There was essentially none yesterday. Call someone who has been stuck in there car for 20 hours a wuss to their face. How about a little compassion?

Donald Draper on January 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Speaking of Schoolbus Ray, his Federal corruption trial started in New Orleans on Monday. Should be fun to watch!

Del Dolemonte on January 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

True but pretty despicable it took this long. I was living in New Orleans when he left office as mayor of Chocolate City. The corruption was already well documented but it took years for indictments to be handed down and years more for this trial to start.

Of course, it was only May of 2012 when Dollar Bill Jefferson finally started his prison term.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

There’s some schadenfreude here for northeasterners, I’m sure, who received some ribbing for not being able to handle the Category 1 Hurricane Sandy given that some parts of the South expect to be hit by a Cat 1 storm at least once a year.

Still, there’s no particular reason that people who live in say, Mobile, AL (which got 3-5 inches) should be prepared to handle snow like a Bostonian. Hope the authorities can rectify this situation soon.

Robert_Paulson on January 29, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Hey, Atlanta traffic is ‘unspeakably horrible’ on a good day.

Pork-Chop on January 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I myself knew that there was snow in the forecast, but didn’t take it that seriously because the weather reports always seem to exaggerate snow forecasts for Atlanta. When the schools try to anticipate the forecast and close the night before, they get complaints that they are being too cautious if the snow doesn’t appear.

cep on January 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Money quote!

davidk on January 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Up north, we don’t plow an inch of snow. Not being prepared for it is not an argument. Buck up, wussies.

matd on January 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

They don’t plow an inch of snow in places like South Carolina either. No plows.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 11:40 AM

There have been multiple facebook groups created to help people who are stranded connect to people near them who can offer a warm place to stay, food and water. …
Donald Draper on January 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Please post a link. I can help.
–Rob in Atlanta

topdog on January 29, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Hey, Atlanta traffic is ‘unspeakably horrible’ on a good day.

Pork-Chop on January 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Scariest drivers in the South.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 11:40 AM

The Weather Channel gave them 24 hrs notice.

Akzed on January 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

ATL had three days warning of this snow.

Even as far North as Washington, DC…they just don’t budget for these things. It hasn’t changed since I lived there…a couple inches of snow and the city still shuts down. And of course no one knows how to drive in it…or has the most basic knowledge of physics to realize slamming the brakes wont stop the car on a slippery road.

JetBoy on January 29, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Allah, can you PLEASE stop embedding videos with the obnoxious autostart enabled?
Nothing like having a newscast start unexpectedly blaring out of your speakers while at wor

Curmudgeon on January 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Up north, we don’t plow an inch of snow. Not being prepared for it is not an argument. Buck up, wussies.

matd on January 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM
And our plow truck drivers also are smart enough to back down the icy hills, sanding them as they back down.

Del Dolemonte on January 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Sorry but when you’re in the South and only have a major snowstorm every 5 years, if that, most people see it as an acceptable trade off to have a snow day or two in lieu of the expense of maintaining rarely-needed snowplows and drivers.

Atlanta messed up, but their mistake was not “failing to teach drivers how to drive in snow that they almost never get” nor was it “failing to have a fleet of snowplows.”

DavidW on January 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Allah, can you PLEASE stop embedding videos with the obnoxious autostart enabled?
Nothing like having a newscast start unexpectedly blaring out of your speakers while at wor

Curmudgeon on January 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM

I second the motion.

Texas Zombie on January 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Did all these people just not pay any attention whatsoever to the forecast? Why in the world were they all out on the roads in the first place?

Texas Zombie on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

I’m waiting for Bush’s fault

cmsinaz on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Patently unsatisfactory planning…

Got to go out in my SOCAL back yard and pick some oranges off the tree!!

Khun Joe on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Hey, Atlanta traffic is ‘unspeakably horrible’ on a good day.

Pork-Chop on January 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I know that’s true. I once drove an 18 wheeler northbound on the 85 during rush hour.

Almost as bad as the San Bernardino freeway.

davidk on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

our folks are working as tedious as they can

What?

WitchDoctor on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Being from NY I’d scoff at Southerners when I lived in SC over their reaction to the snow. I also welcomed that they’d shut the city down on those rare snow events. If you’re not used to the snow, stay home.

rbj on January 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

I’m from NY also and lived in NC for a year. When it snowed they didn’t slow down while driving. Accidents at evey other corner.

rjl1999 on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Allah, can you PLEASE stop embedding videos with the obnoxious autostart enabled?
Nothing like having a newscast start unexpectedly blaring out of your speakers while at wor

Curmudgeon on January 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM

http://internet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/disable-annoying-autoplay-media-chrome-firefox-safari-and-internet-explorer-0139641/

JetBoy on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

I myself knew that there was snow in the forecast, but didn’t take it that seriously because the weather reports always seem to exaggerate snow forecasts for Atlanta ANYWHERE.

cep on January 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

FIFY. And that is the big problem. In order to feed the OMG-we’re-all-going-to-die 24hr news cycle, the weathermen have taken to crying “WOLF!” very loudly. And, now nobody believes them. (Including me. With the OMG-we’re-all-going-to-die discount, I figured 2″ here in coastal VA – we actually did get about 5-6 inches at my house, and more out toward the ocean.)

GWB on January 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Got to go out in my SOCAL back yard and pick some oranges off the tree!!

Khun Joe on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

I’d take sitting in an 18-hour ATL traffic jam over having to live in SOCAL any day.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Here is the main facebook page that was requested. There are some offshoots for more specific atlanta areas.

Donald Draper on January 29, 2014 at 11:49 AM

https://www.facebook.com/groups/397839673695382/

Donald Draper on January 29, 2014 at 11:50 AM

North vs. South with snow…

JetBoy on January 29, 2014 at 11:50 AM

ATL had three days warning of this snow.

JetBoy on January 29, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Mostly in Atlanta we get snow that melts and doesn’t cause trouble.
Sometimes the snow falls on frozen ground… still not a problem.
Rarely, the snow melts and refreezes. That was the problem here.
Ice, and lots of it, especially on the main roads. Nobody predicted that!

topdog on January 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM

I’m from NY also and lived in NC for a year. When it snowed they didn’t slow down while driving. Accidents at evey other corner.

rjl1999 on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Of course, they are not terribly good drivers even on dry pavement on a clear day. At least, not the north NC ones from out near the coast. I think they get better the closer to SC you go.

GWB on January 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM

I’m waiting for Bush’s fault

cmsinaz on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Funny how this is treated as a local issue, to be dealt with by local officials. But when Katrina hit New Orleans, it was suddenly the Feds (re: Bush’s) fault for all the problems.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Call Mayor Dablahzio. He’ll know what to do.

diogenes on January 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM

“I sit there and think about the mothers whose children are stuck in school buses… But people need to understand our folks are working as tedious as they can. This is a really hard situation for everybody.”…

What?

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 11:53 AM

I live North of Atlanta in the boondocks Actually the current mayor is more competant and doing a better job than the last two. The weather prediction was the snow would be further south. A lot of the issues on highways are tractor trailers jack knifed and blocking the road. People panicked about getting there children from school. My child goes to a christian school and if he’d had to spend the night it would not have been a big deal. Having kids stranded on school busses over night is pretty scary. Luckily my husband picked our son up begore they even closed schools because we are in the country and anticipate the possibility of getting snowed/iced in. The biggest lesson is the govt cant always help you but your fellow man can and will. People opened their homes hearts wallets to others. People went with trucks and 4 wheelers and helped pull people out of ditches . People are handing out blankets food ect Home Depot, Churches, Service stations stayed open and offered shelter. Race trac is giving free coffee and hot chocolate to people. We do take care of each other.

ldbgcoleman on January 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Farmers Almanac…PFFT! What do they know? Instead, let’s rely on Top.Men.

Christien on January 29, 2014 at 11:55 AM

My friend Dave saw a few snow flakes in the air, packed up his office and headed home immediately. He learned from the big snow in 2011 when he got stuck at a cheap motel for 4 days.

rcpjr on January 29, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I blame global warming. If the world gets any hotter we are all going to freeze to death.

Libtard off /

HotAirian on January 29, 2014 at 11:55 AM

This is a good time for national unity and Federalism. Let some northern state Governors offer to send plows and drivers to plow the snow and salt the roads down in Dixie (for a fair price).

Steve Z on January 29, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I was out and about yesterday and noticed that the weatherman on the radio was going to ridiculous lengths to keep from saying the word snow. I don’t know if he was looking for thesaurus points or just trying to fill air time with his “no indication of our area accumulating any frozen precipitation”.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 11:57 AM

“I sit there and think about the mothers whose children are stuck in school buses… But people need to understand our folks are working as tedious as they can. This is a really hard situation for everybody.”…

What?

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 11:53 AM

I love it when someone wants to sound smart by using a word that they have no idea how to use correctly.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM

In Wisconsin they put cheese brine on the roads.

They also put beer on the roads, but the usual delivery system for that is a very drunk Packer fan with his head hanging out the car’s passenger-side window.

and

Bishop!

Bruno Strozek on January 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM

I must admit that I have often made fun of southern states drivers who don’t get an “opportunity” to drive in the snow, and make a fuss about a couple of inches. Having said that, I have a brother in law who lives in Atlanta, and who has been stuck in his car on an interstate somewhere in the metro for over 18 hours. I went hunting this morning and haven’t been up on the news, was this an ice storm with the snow? If so, an ice storm shuts us down here also, but not to that extent. I guess I don’t care if it’s Atlanta, or Fargo, a lack of preparation is not acceptable.

kam582 on January 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Here in H-Town, they thankfully announced school district closures the night before. Last Friday my district waited til 5:20AM the morning of to call me and tell me not to come in to work(luckily I don’t leave the house til 6AM normally).

I took the little one to the mall yesterday for lunch and it was a ghost town. It looked like Dawn of the Dead in there. Of course, a few more years under Obama and malls may look like that even on a warm, sunny day.

Doughboy on January 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM

ldbgcoleman on January 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

The people caught entirely flatfooted even though they had options are probably the ones who believe in global warming, hook, line and sinker.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Oh, and knock off the auto plays imbedded in the posts, ads and news casts.

kam582 on January 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM

it’s not every day you see a headline in a major paper with the words “unspeakably horrible” in it.

ACtually – it is. The media has gone all-in for sensationalizing dam near everything.
Which is likely why so many people down south ignored the weather forecasts.
I say, if anyone, it’s the media’s fault – boy who cried wolf and all…

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM

As this was unfolding, the Mayor of Atlanta was receiving the Georgian of the Year Award:

http://www.georgiatrend.com/January-2014/2014-Georgian-of-the-Year/

https://twitter.com/StephSmithGA/status/428210022183878656

Heckuva job there Kasim.

SoRight on January 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

kam582 on January 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Do you use Mozilla Firefox as your browser and active adblock? It will change your computer life.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

SoRight on January 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

And from the citation . . .

A Democrat with strong ties to the Obama Administration

SoRight on January 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I was out and about yesterday and noticed that the weatherman on the radio was going to ridiculous lengths to keep from saying the word snow. I don’t know if he was looking for thesaurus points or just trying to fill air time with his “no indication of our area accumulating any frozen precipitation”.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Frankly, when it comes to the South, ice storms are much scarier than snow storms. Just putting ice into the forecast in TN causes multiple car pile ups on the interstates.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

ldbgcoleman on January 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Great story. I lived in a small town in Mississippi after Katrina and we got by because neighbors pitched together and helped each other. One person loaned his chain saws and sons to help, one person went to find gas, and everyone watched out for each other.

itsspideyman on January 29, 2014 at 12:04 PM

“I sit there and think about the mothers whose children are stuck in school buses… But people need to understand our folks are working as tedious as they can. This is a really hard situation for everybody.”…
What?

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 11:53 AM
I love it when someone wants to sound smart by using a word that they have no idea how to use correctly.

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM

If you’re talking about gubmint workers – tedious may actually be a fairly appropriate word….

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Funny the gop governor of ga is getting lambasted and the LA governor during Katrina got a free ride from the lsm

cmsinaz on January 29, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Allah, can you PLEASE stop embedding videos with the obnoxious autostart enabled?
Nothing like having a newscast start unexpectedly blaring out of your speakers while at work.

Curmudgeon on January 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM

http://internet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/disable-annoying-autoplay-media-chrome-firefox-safari-and-internet-explorer-0139641/

JetBoy on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

It works. I turned on Active-X filtering in IE and it stopped the annoying stupid commercial music.

itsspideyman on January 29, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Up north, we don’t plow an inch of snow. Not being prepared for it is not an argument. Buck up, wussies.

matd on January 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

That’s a clown comment, bro. Comparing snow and ice in Atlanta to that of a northern city is apples and oranges. The prep up north is much better. There was essentially none yesterday. Call someone who has been stuck in there car for 20 hours a wuss to their face. How about a little compassion?

Donald Draper on January 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

In Delaware they shut down over an inch of snow. Having lived in the Midwest for most of my life I mock them.

For four years I worked for the public works dept. in Olathe, KS, and fighting snow was one of my duties. I have backed down hills spreading salt.

Yes, being stuck in your car for that long is horrible, potentially deadly. But the lack of common sense is striking.

When any kind of inclement weather is forecasted, put together a emergency bag: peanut butter and crackers, water, jerky, blankets, heavy coat, sock hat, and, yes, a pot to pee in.

Walmart sells clear plastic jars with lids. Awkward, but you’ll be glad to have it.

I had these things in my 18 wheeler. Any halfway intelligent driver did.

It is just as easy to keep your fuel tank full as it is ti keep it half full. If there is a hint of bad weather, fill up. Again, keep a full tank.

Charge your cellphone. If you don’t have one, get a car charger for your cell.

Be a boyscout: Be Prepared.

davidk on January 29, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Do you use Mozilla Firefox as your browser and active adblock? It will change your computer life.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Thanks, I just downloaded it and applied it! I’ll have to put it on my tablet also.

kam582 on January 29, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Hey, I live in Florida where a large portion of the population can’t drive in the rain and it rains almost every day. The real fun is in a place like my hometown, Virginia Beach when there is ice and/or snow. It’s a Navy town so you have a “nice” blend of drivers from the South with zero experience driving in this type of condition going 10 mph and folks from the North who think it is nothing traveling the speed limit.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Even as far North as Washington, DC…they just don’t budget for these things. It hasn’t changed since I lived there…a couple inches of snow and the city still shuts down. And of course no one knows how to drive in it…or has the most basic knowledge of physics to realize slamming the brakes wont stop the car on a slippery road.

JetBoy on January 29, 2014 at 11:42 AM

I lived in Houston TX for four years during the 1980s, and they once got 2 inches of snow. Since I was the only Yankee in the car pool, the Texans made me drive that day…25 mph on the freeway. The others complained about the slow speed, but I got them to work faster than the hundreds of pickup trucks spun out in the ditch.

Snow is slippery, take it slow!!!

Steve Z on January 29, 2014 at 12:10 PM

kam582 on January 29, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Jetboy gave instruction at 11:45. Occasionally the odd auto play video will sneak through but there is usually an X in the upper right hand corner that will put a stop to it.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:10 PM

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 12:04 PM

LOL! Well, then the tears were a nice touch.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:10 PM

I spent a couple of hours yesterday freaking out after my brother texted me that he had not heard from our sister, who decided not to try to drive home from her office in Buckhead to her home in Duluth. (She is 60 and single, with a mild disability.) Brother lives in Suwanee and told her he would pick her up at the MARTA station and drive her home. After 2 hours he told me he had not heard from her and was worried. I got basically nothing done at work the rest of the afternoon. Finally he told me he had her, but it took her 4 hours to get there BY TRAIN. And then it took him another hour and a half to drive her 2 miles from the MARTA station to her house and then get back to his house. Normally this is about a 15 minute trip for him.

My sister has lived in Atlanta since 1979 and said she has never seen anything like this.

rockmom on January 29, 2014 at 12:11 PM

JetBoy on January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Thanks Jetboy. Use IE and have been trying to do this for weeks. So easy. If you know where to look! Lol

Barred on January 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM

I myself knew that there was snow in the forecast, but didn’t take it that seriously because the weather reports always seem to exaggerate snow forecasts for Atlanta. When the schools try to anticipate the forecast and close the night before, they get complaints that they are being too cautious if the snow doesn’t appear.

cep on January 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Money quote!

davidk on January 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Exactly!

Here in Omaha, the TV and radio stations can turn a “chance of flurries” into a “howling blizzard” is less time than it takes to tell. And woe to us poor, innocent TV viewers trying to watch the boob tube when there is the teensiest, tinsiest chance of a thunder storm. You’d think a Category 1 hurricane accompanied by Category 5 tornadoes was bearing down on us. I don’t know if the stations are merely trying to drum up attention for their news casts or if they are afraid of being sued because they missed the one-in-a-million chance of Armageddon.

catsandbooks on January 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Frankly, when it comes to the South, ice storms are much scarier than snow storms. Just putting ice into the forecast in TN causes multiple car pile ups on the interstates.

Happy Nomad on January 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Actually a very good point. I’ve driven in all kinds of snow (learned to drive in Maine) and it was never as scary as one trip through Connecticut on I-95 when an ice storm hit. Cars stopped on the road slid sideways off to the shoulder because of the ice and the slope of the road. I pulled over (slid over), put chains on, then drove with 2 wheels in the gravel on the shoulder up to the next exit and kept going on the side roads for a few miles to get past the traffic jam.

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I myself knew that there was snow in the forecast, but didn’t take it that seriously because the weather reports always seem to exaggerate snow forecasts for Atlanta. When the schools try to anticipate the forecast and close the night before, they get complaints that they are being too cautious if the snow doesn’t appear.

cep on January 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Here in Houston they shut down most all schools and government. When the roads didn’t get as bad as they predicted there were people that said they over reacted. Last week we had an ice storm and they had over 500 accidents on the bridges. All it would have taken is a change of 2 or 3 degrees and we would have been like Atlanta. I would rather have my kids home(even though we only live about a mile from the school) rather than out there on the roads with crazy Houston drivers. Having grown up in the north I know how to drive in the snow, but ice is a different story altogether.

Corsair on January 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM

It’s hard to prepare for stuff like this in the South. Big expenditures on heavy equipment and salt and sand that will go unused for years and years is hardly a good use of tax payer money. Usually judicious closings are the best “fix”. Once in Virginia Beach the National Guard had to clear the main roads.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:14 PM

rockmom on January 29, 2014 at 12:11 PM

I am so glad everyone is okay. Nothing is worse than not knowing. As hard as it is for others to understand, these are really rare instances in the South.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Columbia, SC was ready (at least as much as we could be). Roads were pre-treated, and the snow held off until later in the night after most folks were home after rush-hour. :-)

SouthernGent on January 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Up north, we don’t plow an inch of snow. Not being prepared for it is not an argument. Buck up, wussies.

matd on January 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

And our plow truck drivers also are smart enough to back down the icy hills, sanding them as they back down.

Del Dolemonte on January 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Sorry but when you’re in the South and only have a major snowstorm every 5 years, if that, most people see it as an acceptable trade off to have a snow day or two in lieu of the expense of maintaining rarely-needed snowplows and drivers.

Atlanta messed up, but their mistake was not “failing to teach drivers how to drive in snow that they almost never get” nor was it “failing to have a fleet of snowplows.”

DavidW on January 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Pretty much that simple. Learning how to drive on the snow takes a certain amount of practice, and people in the South don’t get that practice. Better to have a snow day on the rare occasions when it happens, even if it does seem silly to see everything shut down because of a light dusting of snow that would barely make people further north yawn.

But South Mississippi had a mix of sleet and snow, leaving the roads covered with ice, not just snow. Add a couple of days now below freezing, which means the snow and ice isn’t melting as it usually does, and you have a problem. If Atlanta had the same type of weather, it’s going to take a while to get things straightened out.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 29, 2014 at 12:19 PM

The Doctor says: Been there, done that

The Schaef on January 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM

You’d think a Category 1 hurricane accompanied by Category 5 tornadoes was bearing down on us. I don’t know if the stations are merely trying to drum up attention for their news casts or if they are afraid of being sued because they missed the one-in-a-million chance of Armageddon.

catsandbooks on January 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM

AS I said earlier – the media now over sesationalizes EVERYTHING.
My wife is starting to get really PO’d every time some TV weather idiot tells us “make sure to put a coat on today”.

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I live North of Atlanta in the boondocks Actually the current mayor is more competant and doing a better job than the last two. The weather prediction was the snow would be further south. A lot of the issues on highways are tractor trailers jack knifed and blocking the road. People panicked about getting there children from school. My child goes to a christian school and if he’d had to spend the night it would not have been a big deal. Having kids stranded on school busses over night is pretty scary. Luckily my husband picked our son up begore they even closed schools because we are in the country and anticipate the possibility of getting snowed/iced in. The biggest lesson is the govt cant always help you but your fellow man can and will. People opened their homes hearts wallets to others. People went with trucks and 4 wheelers and helped pull people out of ditches . People are handing out blankets food ect Home Depot, Churches, Service stations stayed open and offered shelter. Race trac is giving free coffee and hot chocolate to people. We do take care of each other.

ldbgcoleman on January 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Good story.

Lesson: don’t depend on the government. “We the people” can get through difficulties.

davidk on January 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I lived in Houston TX for four years during the 1980s, and they once got 2 inches of snow. Since I was the only Yankee in the car pool, the Texans made me drive that day…25 mph on the freeway. The others complained about the slow speed, but I got them to work faster than the hundreds of pickup trucks spun out in the ditch.

Snow is slippery, take it slow!!!

Steve Z on January 29, 2014 at 12:10 PM

I lived in a townhouse development in Alexandria, VA and the road getting out was up a bit of a hill. 7:30 am, an inch of snowfall, and there were half a dozen cars couldn’t make it to the top…SUV’s with 4WD included, slid off to the side. I waited at the bottom of the hill for everyone to basically get out of my way, and zipped right up to the top in my little red sports car no problem.

Of course, on the main roads there were dozens of accidents…one inch of snow, mind you. I watched a couple of them happen…just like you said, people drive like maniacs and think their brakes will actually stop the car.

JetBoy on January 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Just returned from a long walk around the few blocks that surround. Hardly anyone around. This is a good thing. Sensible. Many, many abandoned cars. Larger streets are clearer than surface streets. To be expected. Gravel has been placed on hills and overpasses.

Bmore on January 29, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Snow is fine when you are prepared and don’t have to go out in. My kids are sending me pictures, so pretty.

Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:27 PM

ldbgcoleman on January 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

In agreement with exception to the Mayor part. He is terribly corrupt and inept. A serious fluffer for 0. Make no mistake about him. He is your enemy.

Bmore on January 29, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Big expenditures on heavy equipment and salt and sand that will go unused for years and years is hardly a good use of tax payer money.
Cindy Munford on January 29, 2014 at 12:14 PM

And, a related consideration – how many people down south are going to spend the money to put snow tires on their car ($500 or more total for 4 tires) if there’s seldom any need for them – especially when money is tight, as it is under the current imperial regime?

dentarthurdent on January 29, 2014 at 12:30 PM

After moving from Bflo to NoVA I learned an important lesson: I can drive in winter weather, everyone else can’t and that is the danger on the roads.

Keep a brick of emergency rations in your car along with means to start a fire, warm blankets or a sleeping bag. Even if you are in the South these are good things to have in your car. I may go a bit overboard in the way of a survival kit, but I’ve seen what winter can do and I’ve been in wilderness territory where you are lucky when there are old logging roads… a disaster can strike any time, anywhere and if you aren’t prepared, then you are in very bad straights.

Of course back in Bflo you also had a six-pack stashed under the sleeping bag that you got on the first day that snow was predicted. If you are going to be stranded be stranded in style. Plus you always have a chilled six pack for those parties where you forgot to bring something, and by spring it is time to celebrate.

ajacksonian on January 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I was one of the lucky ones who had a mere 4.5 hour commute. I work in Buckhead, and the snow had been falling for about 45 minutes or so when I decided to leave work 12:30. It seemed like everyone in the city had the exact same thought at the same time. It took me an hour just to get out of the parking deck.

The Buckhead area is always congested during rush hour, but they usually have traffic cops at every light to control the chaos. The city was absolutely unprepared for the traffic, and by the time it hit it was too late to move resources around to fix the traffic or the roads.

Like I said, I got off relatively easy– I made it home. My boss abandoned his car on the side of the highway and walked five miles to a co-worker’s house. Other co-workers (who left later than me, suckers) abandoned their cars near Buckhead after waiting for hours to go nowhere and went back to the office.

Lawdawg86 on January 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM

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