I know that Atlanta is being laughed at, but no one is laughing here.
Businesses, schools, everything abruptly closed the minute the snow started falling, because here’s the thing: it never snows in Georgia. The minute we saw that snow everyone collectivey went, “oh, shit.”
Nothing was salted or sanded beforehand. Tens of thousands of people hit the road at once, which were already beginning to ice over, which lead to commute times of 3+ hours, and eventually 5+ hours, 10+ hours, and some people I know were stuck in their cars for over 14 hours. No food, no bathroom breaks, no extra clothes, nothing.
My mom spent over 9.5 hours driving and still had to abandon her car and walk the remainder of the way home. My mom is 60 years old, she has a pinched nerve in her foot, and she did slip on the ice on the way home, so walking another 3 miles home in work clothes on an empty stomach and a full bladder was awful to hear about. She met my stepdad at the front of the neighborhood and they walked home together, so that was nice in a way.
I have friends stranded in hotel lobbies (because the hotels ran out of available rooms), in Krogers, in Home Depots, at their workplaces and terrifyingly enough, a ton of people were stranded in their cars all night. One of my friends reported that her father’s car battery died at midnight, as well as a slew of other people I know ran out of gas.
Do you know how many kids (and drivers!) were stranded inside their buses yesterday? Or how about the hundred of kids and faculty still inside their schools right now? Do you know how many thousands of people abandoned their cars and had to walk upwards of four hours to get home?
This is absolutely horrifying. Snowpocalypse in January 2011 was bad, but this…this is surreal in how terrible it is.
Additionally, it’s fairly amazing to see everyone band together and open up their homes to people, to see how many businesses said, “fuck rules,” and opened up their buildings to stranded folks, to see how many people spent hours upon hours helping people get their cars unstuck, out of ditches, etc., and to see how many people passed out food and water to stranded folks. And it’s amazing that everyone forgot the state of the union address last night, AND that we are all equally, justifiably angry with Mayor Kasim Reed and Governor Nathan “I’m a tool” Deal.