Social Media Contributed to Snowpocalypse; Even Birds were Surprised

DSC00742   People that know me might be surprised that I really don’t blame the politicians for the South’s snow disaster. That’s because usually I blame politicians for about everything, and in particular, I don’t care for Nathan Deal at all.

That said, it seems logical to me that if any one politician were really all that to blame, that there would at least be SOME areas that did not experience gridlock of any kind or accidents like crazy. I have not been made aware of any area in the swath of the storm that escaped. Therefore, either every one of the area politicians were equally incompetent, or what I think is closer to the truth, the snow storm came quickly, wasn’t that expected by anyone, and we just weren’t prepared because it is a pipe dream to think you can be prepared for everything all the time anyway.

I understand that in the North often people shut down in a staggered fashion to keep a big rush from happening.  That didn’t happen here and I’m not sure if it could have.  This is what I experienced:

A lot of people in the South are poor, getting poorer. NO ONE who is getting paid by the hour – and that’s most of us – want to miss work for any reason, especially in this crazy insane cold winter that has us all confused and paying heating bills out the ARSE.

We really were not expecting this. Of course I live WELL out of the projected path, being about halfway between Atlanta and Chattanooga. We were expecting MAYBE a dusting. We can handle a dusting usually. A dusting comes down and looks white but doesn’t really affect the roads.

What we GOT was a sudden, large downfall – it was pouring snow out of the sky. THAT is not usual for Georgia. When it has happened, it’s happened at night and we wake up to it.  To most Southern mindsets, snow MELTS in the middle of the day around lunch, it doesn’t FALL.

SO EVERYONE -it seems- hops on SOCIAL MEDIA or email or texts their loved ones pretty much at once – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – “It’s getting bad – better get home!” Not long after, pictures of cars that have slid off the roads come in. People quit waiting on bosses to call it so they felt their jobs were safe- and just left. Word spread really fast – even to people who had not walked outside to see the mess.  A few times we got “all circuits are busy” messages on our cell phone.

The Floyd County BOE though – I will blame them a wee bit. They like to keep the kids past 1 so they don’t have to make up the day. I don’t know if they really care or not about the kids making up the day or not, but they probably would prefer that the teachers don’t, and that the schools don’t have to run an extra day. I’ve always been told that time is 1pm. That’s the time they choose to let kids out. That’s why kids got stuck.

So a lot of parents tried to wait it out til 1pm so they could leave and get their kids.

It all happened so fast. My own husband knew there were wrecks and the roads were bad by 11:00am. By 11:47 I was begging him to go ahead and get home, but he wanted to wait until after 12 so he’d have that extra hour’s pay in.  His drive normally takes 20 minutes. After an hour trying to get to town, he slid when he got to town, but luckily landed in an empty parking lot. Usually it isn’t like that – normally it’s the out roads that are the problem, and once you get to town, the roads will be dry from traffic – but they weren’t – they were solid ICE.

People could not get up the many hills on our roads. They call Rome the City of 7 hills but really the whole thing is set into the foothills of the Appalachians. This rolling terrain with long inclines continues all the way down past Marietta into Atlanta, before the state’s piedmont area starts, which is a lot more flat. People were sliding backwards on the hills. That’s when my husband left his truck in a parking lot and went on foot.

On his way home he passed a hospital van that had went out to pick up employees that had said they could not get into work.  (Having worked in  hospitals, I know that there’s a panic that no one will get to go home, and that people just don’t want to come in and chance getting stuck there for days.) Well, the hospital van was in the ditch with the people it picked up. He passed a man from Ohio with a truck in the ditch. There was a several car pile up at the bottom of the next hill.

He walked 5.5 miles in 16 degree weather on snow covered ice. I was glad that Ace Hardware let him come in, get warm, drink some coffee and buy some gloves. I was terrified for all the people who did not dress for the weather. Keep in mind, we still have shorts and tank tops out, and expect to wear them this weekend! Women, in particular, often wear dress shoes with no socks and very little protection from the cold. There’s old people and people who have various problems and are out of shape that maybe could not do it. He made it ok – he’s in great physical condition so he’s just a bit sore today.

So yes, people in the South were caught unaware. We’re all a bit to blame for that. We’ve had winters before and snow before. Usually we have the sense to shut down in advance. That doesn’t mean I think we’re stupid for NOT sensing it.

I didn’t even see the snow clouds I normally see before it snows. It even seems to have taken the birds by surprise. I saw some birds under bushes that never get under bushes. My chickens didn’t even go to their coop- they got trapped in this shaded area with a dust bath we made for them. We had to PICK THEM UP and carry them to proper shelter. They were standing there like “WHAT THE HELL???” It’s just hard to IMAGINE that we might have a crippling snow when the 7 day forecast is filled with sunshine and 70 degrees on the weekend and the weather people are saying we can get out our flip-flops this weekend.  The weather is enough to make anyone crazy this year. It’s schizophrenic.

But social media is very fast, and very efficient at alerting people of danger. If it had not been, a lot of people would never have even TRIED to come home, because they would have been stuck at work.

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