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Lessons learned during Atlanta's 2011 winter storm

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Atlanta's finally beginning to thaw out from this rare snow and ice storm that has left the entire city crippled for nearly a week. It successfully shut down schools, businesses, the airport, major interstates and even mail service.

While children enjoyed only having to get up early to get a spot on top of the best hill for sledding, and neighbors far north of Georgia snickered and laughed at the way we navigated our way through the storm, for many working parents the headache came on by the second day being couped up in the house.

But, there's always a silver-lining and the 10 lessons learned from this week can help parents get through the next big snow or ice storm that hits the area:

  1. It's always a good idea to have a back-up plan for childcare, especially if you're one of those people who has to go to work during the storm, and your normal daycare facility or school is closed.
  2. Heed those warnings to stock up on bread and milk. We've all heard the crys from television reporters and meterologists to go to the grocery store and buy the essentials of food, water, batteries etc but too often they fall on deaf ears. Those "storms" have rarely in recent memory turned into anything more than an inconvenience for a day, maybe two. But the January 2011 storm in Atlanta was different. Many malls and stores remained closed for several days and many people still haven't left their homes to navigate very treacherous secondary roads five days later.
  3. Pray, pray, pray that the electricity doesn't go out. And if it does, be thankful that you heeded the warning to stock up on supplies and now are fully stocked with batteries for flashlights.
  4. There will be school closings in advance of weather emergencies here in Atlanta, so have lesson plans and other indoor games and activities prepared so the kids don't go stir crazy.
  5. Nothing brings people closer together than a snow storm. If you didn't know your neighbors before, you likely will after a snowstorm when everyone is home and the only thing to do to occupy the time is helping each other dig out of driveways and community roads. Now that we know each other, let's all do a better job at staying in touch.
  6. Grab a cell phone, digital camera or video camera and capture it all. Post what you capture on Facebook or Youtube just plain old-fashion email it to friends and family. Let the kids join in doing some of the "filmwork" it will keep them busy. (See lesson #4).
  7. Cooking and baking and experimenting in the kitchen can be fun when you're snowed-in. Now's the time to try out a new recipe or make that beloved family treat you haven't made in months because of time constraints.
  8. It pays to invest in a snow sled and a snow shovel - even in Atlanta.
  9. Today's as good as any to teach the kids how to shovel snow. (See lesson #4).
  10. Finally, stay home if you don't have to go out - seriously. If you've never seen or driven in snow, this was not the time to try. How many stories did we watch on television about snow plows not being able to get through and do their jobs because people had abandoned cars? How many stories did we see about cars spinning out and tractor trailers jack-knifed because people were driving too fast? When the next storm of this magnitude hits Atlanta, let's all just leave the car keys at home and take a walk. In

Share what lessons you learned with other Examiner.com readers?

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