Storm brings Atlanta to a halt

To Cincinnatians, three inches of snow doesn’t mean much other than a snowday. But in Atlanta, it can gridlock the whole city.

On January 28th, three inches of snow hit the Georgia city and caused major traffic jams and shut down all highways. Forecasters had predicted an unusual blizzard to hit the south, but schools and offices had decided to stay open. Later in the day, though, offices started to let people go home early just as schools were finishing classes. This large amount of people on the highways and the snow led to this gridlock.

Many drivers reported that it took them fourteen to twenty-two hours to get home. Some people slept in their cars; others decided to head home on foot. The Georgia National Guard delivered food to people stranded in their cars. One woman even gave birth with the help of her husband and a police officer.

Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted that morning that his city was “ready for the snow.” But he was wrong, as crews worked well into the afternoon of January 29th to remove the snow from the streets. Both he and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal are under heavy criticism over this mishandling of the snow. Deal, who is up for re-election later this year, said he will “take whatever blame comes my way.” However, he did say that if he had told schools and businesses to close too early and there was less snow than expected, he would have faced critics complaining about his decision.

The city residents swiftly looked for someone to blame for this mess. At the top of the list was Mayor Reed, who accepted full responsibility for all of the accusations that have been put upon him. Number two on the list were the schools who decided to have regular classes despite knowing that inclement weather was upon them. Last on the list was the City of Atlanta itself for not notifying workers that they should pre-treat the roads with salt, much like Cincinnati and many other northern cities in the United States.

The outlandish traffic on the highways and streets caused many people to think about why the city of Atlanta doesn’t have any kind of alternate transportation systems. Many people believe that Atlanta, the 40th largest city in America, had more alternative transportation then the whole situation could have been avoided in the first place.

The ordeal in Atlanta can be seen from a comical perspective in our point of view, but the seriousness of the matter is that people who were needed were stuck in the snow for hours. Children were abandoned and the elderly were in need of medicine that only their caretakers could provide for them. It was a situation that could have been avoided, and surely will be avoided in the future.