January 28, 2014, will be a day that Atlantans and the state of Georgia will remember for years to come. Despite warnings from local meteorologists regarding the approaching Winter storm on Monday. School districts, businesses and state government offices, decided to proceed Tuesday, business as usually in the city of Atlanta and the state.
Atlanta has been characterized as the city too busy to hate, now maybe tagged; Atlanta a city too busy to take Mother Nature seriously. In 2011, Atlanta was shutdown for five days due to the weather. Three years later, the snow returns and the city is paralyzed due to a fast moving snowstorm that dumped only two inches of snow. Atlanta continues to learn the unpredictability of the weather and how devastating the results can be on the city and citizens.
Governor Deal declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia. Unlike the January, 2011 shutdown this year’s shutdown in January caught motorist on the interstates and local streets moving at a turtle’s pace and in some places not at all. Schools, businesses and government, decided to let people go home all at the same time. For Atlanta, it is around 1.2 million people moving virtually at the same time by automobile, Marta and buses. Motorist were stranded for hours in gridlock traffic going no where for 12 hours or more. Many motorist recorded a 24 hour gridlock and more in their cars, some motorist were with children. Students on buses, where also stranded for hours.
Throughout the day on Wednesday, Governor Deal, Mayor Reed, along with top state and local leaders answered questions. Both Deal and Reed offered their apology and acknowledged that their were mistakes made.
With gridlock Tuesday in Atlantans rearview mirror. Wednesday and Thursday has been a no brainer for state leaders, businesses, state government and school superintendents. Some students were stranded at schools overnight, to the frustration of many parents. Abandoned cars were left on travel lanes, added to the gridlock on the interstates. Various locations and sites were setup around the city to offer stranded motorist a place out of the cold. Some school districts have also canceled school for Friday. Atlanta has a lot of cleaning up to do, not just in the city, but in public relations with citizens, local, state and national news media.
Kroger grocery stores and Walgreen stores to name a few, stayed open all night to assist stranded motorist. Those that were stranded, were aided by National Guards with food, water and many were transported to shelter areas or home. Many motorist ran out of gas which added to the dilemma and dissatisfaction of Atlantans and the state of Georgia are learning a new term, ‘snowcation.’ (experiencing an unexpected vacation thanks to Mother Nature). Lessons, continue to be learned by our leaders.
Thanks to Mayor Reed for his clarity, straightforwardness and accountability as Mayor of Atlanta in addressing the media. Mayor Reed’s candor, showed that he was not dodging his responsibilities as Mayor of Atlanta. On Thursday, Governor Deal, called a news conference to announce that as Governor, he accepts full responsibility on the Winter snow gridlock.
Thanks to all of the good samaritans, who helped and assisted their neighbors in the city of Atlanta and across the state. The state of emergency will last through Sunday, February 2, 2014. Children first. Welcome to Atlanta.