BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Two Inches of Snow Freezes Atlanta

On Tuesday, Atlanta got snow. According to the news, about 2.5 inches. This was my first snowstorm since moving here and I'd been warned--repeatedly--that it would shut the city down. I wasn't able to comprehend that.

Up until recently, I lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Two inches would be called a nuisance snowfall and maybe slow the commute up some, but not much more than that. How bad could 2 inches of slushy snow be here?

I soon found out.

It began snowing before noon and people started leaving work. I ride a van pool, so we couldn't leave until everyone was allowed to go. That was at 2pm. By then, the two freeways we needed to take home were gridlocked with multiple reports of accidents. The primary backup route was also reported to be a parking lot, so we tried a different alternative.

It took forever to reach it because of the cars backed up and it didn't improve once we were on it. There was a guy walking on the sidewalk who kept up with us!

We inched along this two-lane road until we stopped moving completely. After some speculation that an accident had the road closed, we turned around and tried a different alternate.

This road also crept along at a snail's pace, and when we reached the start of a hill, the police were there, turning everyone around.

We headed for our third route. This one actually was moving and after 3.5 hours, I made it home, up the steep hill I call a driveway, and turned off the car. It was a huge relief, especially since I saw how icy the roads were already.

My parents were visiting and I was met at the door with the announcement that there was homemade chicken soup with homemade noodles. Definitely perfect after the hellish commute.

After dinner, I turned on the television and found there were people who were still stuck on the freeways for six hours! Six! Wednesday morning there were still cars stuck on the freeways around Atlanta and the temperatures weren't going to go above freezing for the day.

Reports from coworkers on their commutes started coming in. Some got home faster than my time, but one guy left at 12:30 in the afternoon and didn't get home until 2am. Another guy was stuck in traffic still at 9pm.

You can see pictures and tweets from people trapped on the freeways at The Daily Beast.

I can't wrap my mind around this set of circumstances. Two inches shutting down a major US city. I know Atlanta doesn't have the equipment down here. (I saw one snowplow in my 3.5 hours on the road and in Minneapolis, they're out on the freeways in force.) I saw how quickly the roads were icing up during my commute. But seriously, people stranded on the roads almost 24 hours later?

Totally incomprehensible to me. I guess you can take the girl out of Minnesota, but you can't take Minnesota out of the girl.