I was in Marietta (west side) at a dental appointment when it started to hit at about 11:00. Just flurries at first, but by 11:30 when I left it was starting to come down so I headed for home in Tucker on the east side. By 12, I made the decision to jettison my other errands and make a quick stop at the post office at Northlake then go across the street to pick up my contacts at my eye doctors. Just after I left there at 12:30 I got an email from my son's teacher letting us know that school was closing early.
By then, it was really coming down, but the major danger at that time were the people slowing down "just because". Traffic started to snarl as I picked my son up at his school and headed straight home. I began reading the horror stories of people stranded in cars on the freeway, kids trapped at schools because the parents didn't get the message until too late, school buses diverting from their normal routes and heading to the nearest school to pick up kids and get them home ASAP. Home Depot stores all over Atlanta opened their doors to people stranded and gave them a warm place to sleep.
Yes, the city and state government should have cancelled school and closed everything down to emergency services. They didn't and the Atlanta mayor and Governor Deal will pay politically for that. They had warning enough from the local meteorologists that have decades of experience in forecasting winter weather in Atlanta and they chose to ignore it (and later lie about knowing). Parents could have made the decision to keep kids at home.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
And now I see "experts" from all over pontificating about how "we should buy more plows and salt trucks", "how stupid Southerners are because we don't know how to drive in the snow", or other inflammatory rhetoric. Here are a few thoughts for those people to chew on.
"Why weren't you prepared?" - Preparing for a once every 5 year event is not possible. If the mayor of Atlanta (who isn't blameless in this) prepared for Boston levels of snow, he/she would be out of a job *quick*. It's like New York City preparing for a hurricane. (*BURN*)
"It's only 2-4 inches! I drive in that all the time!" - No you don't. You drive on roads that are prepared CONSTANTLY with salt and gravel, using 4 wheel drive, snow tires or chains. Snow in Atlanta almost immediately melts when it hits the pavement and then turns to ice from the air temperature. ICE people. It's not snow it's ICE.
"Southerners can't drive on snow!" - Actually, we don't have experience driving on snow and that would hold true if it were only southerners driving here. According to the US Census, Atlanta is the 8th most popular city for to migrate to. In 2010 to 2011, 82 people a day moved to Atlanta, foreign and domestic. I meet far more people from the northern states than I meet other southerners that moved here. I'd guestimate about a third of the people driving yesterday were born somewhere that uses snowplows on a regular basis.
"You stupid f*ing rednecks!" - Excuse me? Are you talking about the city where anesthesia first came into use (Dr. Crawford Long)? Where the largest beverage company in the world is located (Coke)? Where some of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world are designed and built (Lockheed)? Where the Center for Disease Control is located? Georgia Tech? Emory University? Morris Brown College? The Carter Center? If that's stupid, I'd love to see what you have to offer.