Foresight, Hindsight, and Other Visual Impairments

Yes, I’m still on about the weather mess. Mostly because today I’m hearing a couple of recurrent, irritating arguments passing blame.

The first, and most annoying, is that we didn’t see this coming.

That is, to put it politely, a misstatement of reality.

Winter weather advisories were issued for metro Atlanta Monday night, warning of snow starting at 9 a.m. and expected to last until mid-afternoon or evening. Those advisories were still in effect Tuesday morning.

(Note to self: In future, take screenshots of weather advisories.)

You want a bit of correlating evidence? A handful of schools and businesses announced closings. My wife’s was one of those. She worked from home Tuesday. Because her employer told its workforce to stay home. Because her employer’s leadership team is not filled with heartless morons.

Unlike, say, the majority of Atlanta school/business/government leadership teams, who decided, in spite of a weather advisory telling them to expect hours of snow during the workday, to proceed with the workday, anyway.

Which was pointless. In my office, from the beginning of the workday at 8 a.m. until our release at noon, very little got done. Because everyone knew the storm was coming, and we were all just waiting to be sent home.

Only when snow was starting to fall on their heads did most of metro Atlanta’s leadership bother to release their students and workers. All at once. On icing roads. Brilliant.

Which brings me to the second lousy argument going around Atlanta today, which is that the Georgia Department of Transportation was unprepared.

Now, I’m not going to portray GDOT as a paragon of efficiency with a specialization in winter weather road control. It isn’t. However, it is an agency dedicated to putting the resources it has — which are the limited resources most southern transportation agencies maintain for the infrequent winter storms our region experiences — to work in a timely fashion.

GDOT put its people in place Monday night. Put them on 12-hour shifts. Loaded the sand/salt/gravel trucks. Prepared the reloading sites. And waited for the snow to fall.

And when the snow came down, as their trucks went out, they were joined by most of a city’s worth of school and work traffic — all at once, not staggered like on a usual day — who hit the streets when their leaders finally acknowledged reality.

So, GDOT vehicles ended up caught in the same massive traffic problem as every other vehicle on the roads, unable to respond appropriately to clear the roads of snow and ice because the roads could not be cleared of vehicles.

I might wish the people who run our lives — our bosses, superintendents, and elected officials — cared enough about us to call an early snow day, putting safety ahead of squeezing out a few hours of productivity.

I might wish that, but that would be asking for empathy, for understanding, for humanity, which, you know, would be asking a lot from our typical school/business/government leadership.

I would wish, however, for something a little less, a little easier to achieve.

Mind the damned weather advisories.

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