When the population of metro Atlanta went to bed last night, we knew bad weather was on the way. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather warning advising us that, starting perhaps as early as 9 a.m., we would be in for several hours of accumulating snow.
By this morning, the warning was still in effect, with weather forecasters saying, bascially, “brace for impact” to not only the Atlanta area, but most of Georgia and its neighbors.
Metro Atlanta has a bad reputation when it comes to dealing with winter storms. We don’t get them often, so we don’t have the equipment, the people, or the mentality for handling even a couple of inches of snow or ice.
Yet, knowing this, with a few exceptions, metro Atlanta schools, businesses, and government agencies decided to act like today was a spring day.
They waited until the snow started falling — a little later than predicted, around 11 a.m. — pondered a bit, and then, a few at a time, started realizing they needed to release their students and workers.
So, this afternoon, instead of sitting safely at home watching the snow fall, most of the metro population is on the roads, struggling to leave work, pick up children, and fight their way home in treacherous conditions.
Most of these drivers typically face an hour-plus commute (in ideal conditions), and today, in these conditions, there are crashes, there are injuries, and there are lines of traffic that will endure for hours — a situation that could have been mostly avoided if we had leaders willing to think ahead and work with the facts at hand.