I’m still not sure if I enjoy the roller coaster that we all know as winter in the Atlanta metro area. One weekend, I’m out in shorts and then days later, I’m all worked-up over black ice. My nerves about black ice, snow and ice storms have never subsided all these years. In fact, my worries have grown worse through my experiences.
Moving here from the north well over two decades ago, I was confident that I could handle these snow and ice events. It's well-known that the metro area goes into a state of disarray when the worst winter weather visits. For several years, I was OK with the winter weather events until about 2005, I believe. It had been raining for a few days in early December, but on a Friday morning, the remaining water on the roads didn’t dry up in time for the morning commute. The area hit 32 degrees Fahrenheit around 5 a.m. The metro area typically receives ample (sometimes too much) warning about wintry mixes days before they’re supposed to occur – not on that morning. I took it nice and slow down to work as I heard several cars mixing it up around me. In my rear view mirror, I witnessed an SUV hit a black ice patch sending the auto into a massive highway retaining wall. Obviously, that Friday morning left an impression on me.
The weather prediction for Friday, January 18th is another example of how forecasting is imprecise. The winter weather advisory was going on for what seemed like most of the week. Winter weather hit our neighboring states to the west of the Peach State so it was no wonder that our local meteorologists had their best intentions in mind. After all, they feel compelled to ultimately keep us safe and in most cases, the weather professionals accurately predict and warn the public. When it came to January, 18th, the meteorologists were confessing that the chances of a Friday morning black ice event was hit or miss, but it left me with plenty of concern. After what I experienced over seven years ago and several ice events including a January 2000 ice storm nightmare, I’m always on alert.
Thankfully there was no huge event on that Friday morning, except for the rare patches that somehow caused at least one accident. Still, it is better to be safe than sorry. A handful of schools and businesses chose to delay their start times, rather than shut down for the entire day.
As of this writing, we have plenty of winter left with plenty of chances for more wintry weather events. Even with rain and colder temperatures, there is a silver lining to winter: more water for the metro to knock down the drought.