Well, here we snow again. Actually, this looks to be more like a freezing rain/ice event coming our way this week. Indeed schools and businesses will no doubt close shop well before the first drop of rain freezes. To be honest, that is a good thing to do after the debacle of two weeks ago. It’s best for most of us to stay off the thoroughfares and let the highway workers, first-responders and especially utility workers have unfettered access to the Peach State’s highways and byways. Our heroes and perhaps heroes from outside of the metro will be working overtime to hopefully keep all of us warm, dry and safe.
Perhaps it’s a crazy kind of kismet that we went through Winter Storm Leon - to perhaps make us stronger through what looks to be called Winter Storm Pax. I know-don’t tell that to the folks who had to abandon their vehicles and walk miles in the freezing cold to get to their destinations. If predictions hold, Pax could be similar to the ice storm that hit our area back in late January 2000. I don’t recall warnings coming out during that weekend. The only warning was the sound of falling limbs beginning at 4 a.m. through 2 p.m. on that ugly weekend morning. That storm left the metro area’s landscape a mess. In my case, the county eventually scooped up the tree detritus weeks later. And yes, we lost power for several hours in my neck of the woods, but others lost power for days. Still, the utility workers hustled and got us back online under harsh conditions.
On a national level, it’s been fun to poke fun at how the Atlanta metro area cannot handle even two inches of snow. That’s always been the case no matter how much one may explain the situation to outsiders. Hey folks, the storms rarely happen here so we do not invest in snow removal equipment like they do in Anywhere, Minnesota. Winter Storm Leon took that “they’re so unprepared view” several notches further with so much video of folks being stranded on the roads. Indeed this scenario played out over 30 years ago, but with today’s technology and amount of television programming, those images went out at the speed of light and in a much broader fashion. Add a healthy dose of today’s cultural landscape and cynicism and the problems are magnified. Also, the Atlanta metro area has way more folks living it in than in the early 1980s. All of this was a perfect storm for a national embarrassment. Indeed we deserved it since so many lives are seriously put in harm’s way. Compare the Atlanta situation to Portland, Oregon which also rarely receives nasty winter weather. Of course the folks over there knew to primarily stay off the roads and their few bad incidents are barely talked about like Atlanta’s experience.
So, is it a crazy kind of kismet that Winter Storm Leon provided us with in February 2014? Maybe so, but the more important thing to note is that this storm is giving the area’s leaders a second chance at showing the nation that we can be prepared in an icy event.