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Column: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
by LaTria Garnigan
February 04, 2014 12:56 PM | 1150 views | 1 1 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To say the impact and resulting repercussions of Winter Storm Leon were a catastrophe for the entire metro Atlanta area is an understatement.

I saw many news reports of people being trapped on the highways and roads overnight, children having to spend the night at schools and witnessed firsthand cars spinning out due to ice and low traction as well as hundreds of cars being abandoned on the side of the road with drivers walking miles in the cold to shelter.

It definitely made my initial enjoyment of snow quickly turn to dislike in a matter of hours.

My personal journey home, which normally takes me 30 minutes, took seven hours and I was only at the halfway mark. I was one of the lucky ones in that I did not have to leave my car to walk and I did not spinout badly or collide with any other vehicles. I did however, spend the night at a Waffle House. Not too bad, as I got a good, hot, scattered, smothered and covered meal and a warm place to relax. But many others were not so lucky. I would like to thank the wonderful staff at the 621 Johnson Ferry Road location for their generous hospitality to those of us who were stranded.

So who is to blame, you ask? For me, the answer is crystal clear — those with the authority to pretreat the roads and highways in advance of the storm and NOT Mother Nature or those of us who were attempting to leave work or school early, as many local leaders would like you to believe.

Let’s get into my “good, bad and ugly” of last week’s snow fiasco.

The Good:

The numerous displays of humanitarianism witnessed by people taking folks home in four-wheelers, the reports of residents taking in stranded motorists overnight and the many men seen getting out of their cars to help push vehicles either to the side of the roads or up hills. Granted, by Friday this good Samaritanism had all but faded, but it sure was nice while it lasted.

The Bad:

Forever ruining my love of snow. If I never see another snowflake again in life, I think I will be okay. And I was one of the few who was looking forward to this forecast of snow. I was ready to go outside and make snowballs and take pictures of my snow-covered car. But by Wednesday morning, when I finally made it home, all I could do was look outside my window in disgust at the white stuff that created so much chaos.

The Ugly:

The unpreparedness of those in the authoritative positions not to pretreat the roads before the snow had melted and iced over the numerous surface streets and highways in the metro Atlanta area, resulting in the gridlock that we all experienced. What was also ugly was the placing of blame of the traffic on businesses and schools releasing early. Did you expect parents to stay at work knowing their children, many of them too young to be home alone, were being let out of school early? I think not. Only days later, did said leaders finally take the blame for not being proactive in a situation where it was known days before of the impending impact. Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday a special task force that would have the sole goal of studying this incident and making sure nothing of this magnitude happens in the future. Let’s hope for the best, but experience has taught me that in the future I’ll just stay home if any forecast of snow is made. And I suggest you do the same.

LaTria Garnigan is the editor of the Brookhaven, Dunwoody, DeKalb and North DeKalb Neighbor Newspapers.
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A. Nicole
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February 04, 2014
Very well said, Ms. Garnigan! I am originally from South Carolina and have friends in the Atlanta Metro area who had to abandon cars, and others who knew of children who slept at schools. (ScaryThought!)Being a New Yorker now, I could not imagine that level of chaos and disarray during a winter storm; but agree with you that none of this had to happen--or at least not of this magnitude--had the roads been pretreated. I'm glad you were able to find a place of shelter for the night, but think of so many more who were stuck on roads with health conditions or in need of medication or food. I am glad that leaders took the blame and are studying this case to ensure chaos created from Winter Storm Leona (Leon's sister) doesn't happen again anytime soon.
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