Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snowpocalypse - Atlanta 2011

No, I have not lived in Atlanta for a long time now (moved away in 1999, then got pulled back in 2001, then moved away again in 2005). But my parents and sister live there, as do a number of friends. This past week, the southeastern portion of the United States experienced unusual winter weather. My sister posted pictures of my parents house here.

Atlanta is known for extremely mild winters with the occassional ice storm. Growing up I remember one snow storm that resulted in snow accumulation that we could walk around in and shovel (it was referred to as the Blizzard of 93). Given the infrequent nature of snow in Atlanta, the region just does not have the equipment or resources to handle things like plowing and salting. So a significant snowfall in Atlanta will result in closings of most schools, businesses, and other non-critical things. My mother is a schoolteacher for GCPS and their system was closed for the entire week. My sister had to work from home numerous days because their office building was closed. And my father spent the night at his office to ensure he would not be blocked by road conditions.

I think the region is more or less back to normal, but it was probably a fun week for all of them. In Hawaii we have been experiencing lots of rain and flash flooding. It's also incredibly humid.

Anyways, Atlanta residents...glad things are back to normal. My recommendations for extreme winter weather (for when it happens in another 5 to 10 years):
  • Drive with headlights on, but not high beams.
  • Drive in the tracks of previous cars. That is, if you see pavement, go for it rather than packed snow or ice.
  • Drive slowly. This is probably the most annoying thing about winter driving, but it's also the most important. Depending on conditions, this can mean half the speed limit or even lower.
  • Don't tailgate. If you hit a patch of ice, you want enough room between you and other objects.
  • A couple bags of play sand in your trunk can help vehicle stabilization. But don't open the bags.
  • Yaktrax are handy for getting to/from your car, to the mailbox, etc.
And lastly...
  • Clean the snow off your cars, including the roof. It's not nice to other drivers to let the wind knock sheets of snow and ice off your roof. That can damage other cars.
I bet it was a fun week!

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