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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Weather Rant

Here in northern Georgia we are expecting a major winter storm to hit tonight and into tomorrow.  There will be several inches of snow and up to a quarter inch of ice.  For our part of the country this is a pretty big event.  For those not familiar with US geography, our region doesn't get snow very often, so it doesn't take much winter weather to cause panic and shut things down.  People in this area simply don't know how to handle snow and ice, so they freak out a little (or a lot) when it happens.

Even though I've grown up in the South and have lived most of my life here, I simply don't understand the panic.  I remember several years ago when 1/2 inch of snow shut down Raleigh, North Carolina and ended up in some children having to spend the night at their schools because the buses couldn't get out.  Last year my kids' school was closed for a day because there was a threat of flurries!  Not even confirmed real snow!  Northern parts of the US will get several inches in a day and still function normally.  You'd think that would be the case everywhere.

However, that's not the part of all of this that frustrates me the most.  I realize that the state and city transportation departments have more limited resources than their northern counterparts because of the infrequency of truly bad winter weather here.  I also know that people live here in part because they don't like severe winter weather.  Safely driving in snow and ice requires experience, and people here really don't have any.  If you're not safe driving in such weather, it's safer for everyone if you stay home.  So I do somewhat understand a little of the fear that hits some people.

What really gets to me is the rush on grocery stores.  People buy food like they're going to be locked in for a week or more during an apocalyptic winter.  Yet even in the absolute worst blizzard I've experienced I was trapped in my apartment for only three days.  The items that get sold out quickest?  Bread and milk.  Why those two?  First, like I just mentioned there is little chance of being stuck in your home for long.  But even if I was, I'd rather have chips, soda, and pizza.  If I'm isolated in my house for a few days, I'm going to want to relax, have fun, and maybe have a little party with the family.  I'm going to want food other than bread and milk.  So why do those two things get sold out?  It never makes sense to me, and I think people do it because that's what everyone else does.

So the bad weather starts tonight and continues through Monday and into early Tuesday morning.  By Wednesday the highs for the rest of the week are scheduled to be above freezing.  All kidding aside I really do pray that nobody gets hurt or killed.  And there's a very good chance that I won't be able to make it into work on Monday, so I may get to have that little party with my family.  Soda?  Check.  Chips?  Check.  I'm set!