Photo by Bim Peacock

Two inches caused the end of days.

The 28th of January sparked an utter fear of fluffy white powder in the North Atlanta area.  The day before, newscasters had pronounced that there was little to no chance of snow within the vicinity.  They may have been right, if the frozen storm hadn’t altered direction last minute.  Early Tuesday morning, the prediction changed from South to North Atlanta.  The citizens were blindsided as the snow steadily began falling halfway through the day, quickly coating the ground and icing over the roads.

As parents immediately rushed out of work to pick up their kids, and others attempted to escape the highways before they became trapped at work, the roads became gridlocked all around the Atlanta region.  Over a thousand wrecks were reported across the state, kids were stranded at schools as their parents attempted to slip through traffic, and one woman had to give birth while she was still on the highway.  As evening came, thousands were still helpless as their children spent the night in schools and they themselves either kept on the road or took refuge in parking lots and grocery stores.

So what caused one of the largest cities in America to shut down after two inches of snow, while cities around the country keep moving with full force after several feet?  Well, there are several reasons in actuality.

The obvious reason is that snow only touches the region every few years.  While cities such as New York have millions of dollars to spend on much needed salt trucks and snow plows, areas surrounding Atlanta have no need to spend money on what will only be used occasionally.  Therefore, our roadmen were unprepared to defend the roads from even the smallest amount of ice.  Secondly, Georgians are unaccustomed to driving in such slick conditions, so the frozen roads were a new challenge for countless citizens.  Quite simply, too many people were heading for the highways at the same time.  Over a million people were recorded on the roads the day of the gridlock. Because so many attempted to escape their work early to reach family, the highways immediately became congested.  As these three aspects played off each other, local Georgians were helpless to the fate that befell them.