Letters: Hearing About Southeast’s Winter Storm

Dear Hugh,

I live just north of Atlanta and, fortunately, I work from home, and I also live alone. So I was not stuck in the massive traffic jams everyone saw on TV. I was nice and warm and comfortable in my home while all this happened. My sister, who lives three counties over, had trouble getting home, but nothing like the 16 hour commutes most people had. It did hit home the fact that I live near a major population center and will have to plan any evacuation in a SHTF situation accordingly. All the Monday morning quarterbacks and Northern naysayers blamed it on us Southerns not being able to drive on snow. That was part of the problem; there were plenty of accidents blocking some roads and interstates. The real and most eye opening problem was the shear number of people all trying to leave the city at once. Like Atlanta Mayor Reed and Georgia Governor Deal said, it was like someone blew a whistle and said “Go!”. Everyone- schools, government employees, private companies all left at the same time. Any traffic system would have had a hard time handling that volume of traffic. Even without the snow and ice it would have been a nightmare on the streets. In a SHTF scenario where Atlanta had to be evacuated, then throw “PANIC!” into the mix and I imagine it would have been even worse. Desperation would set in and no telling what someone might do to go an extra mile or two, or what they would do to get some fuel or a working car, when their family’s safety was involved. I could not imagine trying to get out of Atlanta on any of the three major highways that go through the city and the backroads were just as clogged by everyone trying to avoid the interstate chaos.

It really got me thinking to either move farther out from the city or relocate to a different, less populated state altogether. Snowmaggedon happens once every five years or so and is over in a day or two. SHTF would be an entirely different story.

Side note: Snowmageddon did bring out the best in our neighbors and fellow citizens. People from our sub-division gathered up bottled water and snacks and handled them out along a major through-street near my house that was gridlocked. People thanked us profusely and some even tried to make donations or pay for the stuff. We said no thank you. News report showed people all over the Metro Atlanta area were doing the same. Some in our neighborhood were even willing to open up their homes to anyone who needed it, but the traffic started moving about 9:00 PM, slowly but smoothly. We had no takers for overnight accommodations. – M. in Atlanta