Skip to comments.Atlanta Snow Jam Proves Citizens can Accomplish What Big Government Can't
Posted on 01/30/2014 12:07:36 PM PST by Kaslin
It was a winter storm response described as an "epic failure" of government by one national news network.
A midday winter storm struck Atlanta's metro population of nearly 6 million on Tuesday. By early afternoon, hundreds of thousands of commuters had taken to the streets, all at once, in a desperate effort to get home. At the same time school systems dismissed an army of students, many on buses. Government got into the act too, telling workers to hit the road.
But by the time everyone started out, what began as flurries became several inches of snow on the highways and streets of a metropolitan area known for its myriad of highways and byways, as well as a general inability of its residents to drive in snow.
The result was pure panic and chaos. Large trucks started to slide and block most major roads. Many cars were disabled, or worse, involved in accidents that clogged emergency lanes. Tens of thousands of motorists were stuck in traffic, many for more than 10 hours.
Throughout the night, parents searched for children, many of whom who were forced to spend the evening at school. Desperate motorists found cell towers overloaded and cell phones dying.
While state, county and municipal governments all seemed helpless, public citizens took matters into their own hands. As government stumbled, one person on Facebook formed a site known as "SnowedOutAtlanta" where stranded citizens could post their desperate needs and others near them could offer to provide shelter, food or even come to their rescue. Within hours, tens of thousands had joined in the effort. It was an amazing testament to what big government can't do and what "we the people" can get done.
Ironically, this was all taking place as President Obama was threatening Congress, in his State of the Union Address, to use executive powers to get around them to expand government even more. While many Atlantans remained stuck in cars as the sun rose on Wednesday, Obama was off on a tour of other states touting his newest big government gimmicks.
Meanwhile, Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta's Democrat Mayor Kasim Reed were holding disastrous press conferences in which Reed was openly combative with reporters and Deal seemed mixed up on his meteorology and what the warnings actually were for the storm.
Perhaps the worst of this political theater came when Georgia's director in charge of emergency response, in front of his boss, told the press that an emergency had yet to emerge Tuesday afternoon as vehicles were stalling and colliding all over the place. That sent Georgia's governor racing to the microphones to disagree with his own director, who clearly let his leader down.
No doubt the political finger pointing will continue for weeks, if not months to come. And for Deal, who faces a reelection challenge from the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, state Sen. Jason Carter, the timing could not be worse.
To their credit, both Reed and Deal ultimately apologized for various aspects of the response to the storm. And to be fair, because of the area's unusual location and weather patterns, Atlantans are often given dire predictions of winter weather, only to learn at the last moment that not a single flake of snow will fall.
The lesson learned from this episode, which will likely cost a fortune in insurance claims, out-of-pocket expenses and costs for government efforts at responding, is that we should never fully rely on government to solve all of our problems.
In the case of Atlanta, the official storm warning was issued long before daybreak on Tuesday. Corporations, schools and government entities could have simply said "stay home." They did not.
So once a crisis arose, private citizens did what government could not. They rolled up their sleeves quickly, used modern technology and with caring hearts took on Mother Nature's mess.
No speeches were made. No staff or palace guards stood between those in need and those who wanted to help. And no taxes were required.
Once again, it was individual citizens who saved the day.
Yes. In Birmingham, AL, people from local churches were walking up and down the roads giving out water, food, blankets, etc. Churches opened up their doors and let people in to sleep and get warm. Thousands came in. So, those old bad Christians that Obama hates were doing more than any stinking government agencies. State, local or fed. The Churches out did them all.
And as far as I can determine, NO local Bham moskies let a soul in.
Looking at that picture, I wish government would order the big trucks off the roads in bad weather.
Then I remember that this would end badly, probably with a toilet paper shortage east of the Mississippi.
Families, neighborhoods, churches and cities. Where most of the solutions reside.
Like 9/11. The NY/NJ ferry boat operators improvised, and moved lots of people off Manhattan.
Yup! I have seen a lot of examples or people helping others get through this.
Folks in cold weather states are bemused by the scene in ATL.
There is nowhere to park a tractor trailer in Atlanta. The truck stops that do exist in Atlanta are pretty much the last places on earth you would ever want to park a vehicle, and there aren't that many of them.
Also, Commercial through traffic isn't even allowed on the Atlanta interstates and must stay on the bypass (485?). Kinda unfair to blame this one on the big trucks.
No it’s totally fair. Those big rigs caused 100% of the jams I saw. Especially on the secondary roads. And tried to hog every little crevice to get through causing more and more jams....but people were generally great!!! Too bad southerners can’t drive...at all!!! Cops were useless!!
How many people did the Freedom From Religion folks help? How many people did Mickey Weinstein and his military atheists help? Help me count: Not one!
Put the big rigs on the shoulder or anywhere except in the lanes of traffic. As soon as a winter weather WARNING is issued, off the road they go. We got every plane out of the sky on 9/11, we ought to be able to get big rigs on the side of the road too.
Here in Alaska, I use a 2,000 watt Honda. It will not run the whole house, but my furnace can be unplugged and it will run it. You can also put a couple lights on it. JUST DO NOT HOOK ANYTHING UP TO YOUR HOUSE WIRING,it can fry the linemen working on the power supply!!!
Here in Wyoming I have a 12,000W propane powered back-up generator that automatically starts up and switches over when the power drops out. The transition takes a couple seconds and is virtually transparent, and I can run my normal household load off of it. Heck, sometimes I don’t even know the power has been disrupted until I look down the hill and notice the town has gone dark!
My daughter and son-in-law live in Atlanta and went on Facebook and found a stranded motorist within a mile of their house. They went out and met her and let her spend the night with them. They did not know her, but felt the need to help out. I am so proud of them.
The real solution is to get all the private vehicles off the freeways. At the FIRST winter storm warning, you could all pull over to the shoulder and park. Leave the lanes to the trucks and emergency vehicles.
You see how stupid that sounds. It sounds just like saying"get all the trucks off the road"
Perhaps the real solution is for the taxpayers to fund more places to park, with facilities, for ANYONE to pull off the road. Imagine sitting in your car for 6-8 hours without any place to pee.
UP here before the ice storm hits, the cops block all the roads til the sanders n salters do their jobs but nobody allowed to drive on any hills til the s&s boys are done.
We been doing this for 125 years since horsey wagons n stagecoaches went out of style. Too bad southern cities don`t talk to northern communites but flounder around and wiggle like fish outa water and don go nowhere at all. [ice water that is].
Remnants shown today indicate that the trucks were trying to move on and are now gone. The abandoned vehicles still on these roads are indicative of economic woes. The president’s eloquent “car is in the ditch” analogy comes to mind here.
A lot of people’s car is in the ditch nationwide with his economy but here more likely with a end of the month government money done run out tanks empty syndrome.
I might get some trucks off the road and use others to moderate the traffic with rolling roadblocks. I’ve seen truck drivers to take it upon themselves to do it in bad weather here in Michigan. People get pissed about it but screw em.
I followed the same truck for 250 miles at between 20 and 40 mph once in a blizzard. I just hung back about 100 feet and kept rolling and passed dozens of cars in the ditch.
I attribute it to being in the north but you seldom see this problem over by Detroit and that’s the main trade corridor on the continent.
Would be nice to have an actual count on the number of vehicles related to government and government offices depicted there.
Agreed on the driving prowess disfunctionality problem.
I recall years ago seeing signage along US 1 in the Florida Keys me thinks advising intrepid motorists of a fine imposed for running out of gas on a 5 mile two lane old repurposed railway bridge.
‘Folks in cold weather states are bemused by the scene in ATL.”
Really. It’s quite the mess down there. I’m supposing that everyone hit the road at once and the situation was complicated by their inexperience with slightly slippery roads. Many times here in NY when a much predicted storm gets going people will procrastinate going out for essentials until there is a good 4 or 5 inches on the roads. I’ve done it many times.
Why? You think it makes any difference?
Folks in cold weather states are bemused by the scene in ATL.
I must admit, as a person who grew up in a Chicago suburb, then moved to Quebec, I have had to shake my head a couple of times at this debacle; it`s hard to believe such a mess was caused by some snow and ice. Then I remember how delighted I was, that first winter up here, when I got snow tires...
Driving on snow is an art; I perfected my first 180-degree turn with my learner`s permit on my suburban street in a rear-wheel powered car(clearly, the turn was not on purpose, LOL!).
Seriously, though—it takes experience, particularly if you don`t have four or front-wheel drive or snow tires.
Even here, people are stupid with the first snow—they just don`t slow down and they don`t leave enough space between their car and the one in front of them. Highway 417 was full of accidents last fall when there was the first snow.
You can`t drive the same on wet, slippery pavement as you can on summer pavement, and people in GA don`t have often the opportunity to get that experience.
I believe it was Chic-fila who handed out food with out charging a penny for it
I guarantee you the truckers wished they wouldn't have to be there.
People in the south are not used to this, and the government doesn’t have the equipment to remove the snow and ice
Do you have snow or winter tires on your car?
1. We get a really nasty ice storm like this once every 8-10 years or so. Probably 60% of our population is from somewhere else in the last 3-4 years or so, so they do NOT remember the last time.
2. The winter weather here is very unpredictable, and the news media don't always call it right. While the article CLAIMS that the storm warning was up the night before, that is not really accurate.
The preceding day, the weather report was that there would be no snow or ice in Atlanta, it would all be further south in the Columbus-Macon area (that actually occurs fairly often). Then that started to change overnight, but different news services picked it up at different times, and there was not a lot of agreement about how much frozen precip there would be or exactly where it would hit. Most people don't think to LOOK at the radar service.
Plus, there have been plenty of occasions when the news media screamed "THE SKY IS FALLING" and absolutely nothing happened.
3. The weather looked pretty good and it was not very cold until around 10-11 in the morning. If you just stuck your head outside, you would have wondered what all the fuss was about. That also is typical, but see No. 1.
4. The bad stuff hit just north of the city, in Cobb County, and was very bad there for several hours before downtown got hit. Atlanta's a big place.
5. The city and surrounding counties have very little snow removal equipment. It's not cost effective for something that only happens every 8-10 years or so.
6. The snow hit at the worst possible time - mid day. Employers and schools were reluctant to cancel in the morning when everything still looked o.k., see No. 1.
As one of Kipling's characters said, it's just what does happen every so often. Keep your gas tank full and your eye on the radar when cold air is moving south and Gulf moisture is moving northeast.
I drive an X5... gets around great on snow/ice. Not pure ice of course. but most of what we had wasnt pure ice. But that dosent really help when 1000000000 other idiots gun it like hell... stop or try to stop on the bottom of the hill etc...
the last couple days were certainly entertaining...
the all wheel drive is WAY better than any 4x4 I had as a kid growing up in Wyo... it puts power to the wheel with the MOST traction. My wifes Audi Q7 is even better I think..
Atlanta is VERY hilly. Even the main roads (even the interstates) have some pretty steep hills, and as for surface streets, forget it!
Fortunately we have modified off-road tires on all the vehicles, and all the vehicles are 4WD, because we frequently wind up off road doing retriever training. Because if you drive anywhere in Atlanta, you will hit a steep grade after a few miles, and then with 2WD you are going nowhere fast.
Still took my husband 8 hours to get home. But at least he didn't slide around any.
So if you didn’t have the X5 could you drive on ice?
With no snow tires?
And so did the churches. It was on Fox channel 6 in Bham this a.m.
“And no taxes were required.” Hehe! Just wait until Obama hears about that. He’ll be right on about fixing that! No good deed should go unpunished!
Mine is 2/3’s that size.
I pull the main breaker to the street; plug my generator into the welder outlet in the barn, and let ‘er rip!
I can run everything but my electric range and oven.
Furnace and water heater are propane.
I am so proud of them.
I am, too!
Or just deal with a 50 year storm every 50 years.
I was appalled at just how bad THOSE drivers were!
It was only about 2" of wet snow; but vehiclews were all over the place!
The reality is there is no place for them all to park at once. They gotta keep rolling.
Native born Hoosiers can't remember between storms when they are a MONTH apart! ;^)
I bet you don’t have a fire extinguisher either, or fire insurance. After all, you almost never have a fire...
well obviously it would be more difficult without that. But I managed all my life without the x5 until a couple years ago. most people get on ice and immediately slam on the brakes , especially on hills, that just kills any momentum you have...
Great summary. I’m pinging the GA list to it in case anyone needs to explain what happened here to others
On that note, see my comment here: