Hey peeps, I thought you guys might like to see a little bit of what’s going on around here since we’ve made national news.
Basically what happened is that a couple inches of snow and ice hit Atlanta yesterday during the day and we were already below freezing when it came. Originally the forecast said it was not going to hit in Atlanta, so businesses and schools were not closed in advance. When the forecast shifted, govt and school officials did not change tactics until roads were already icy. Public schools in the area were closed all at once and all of a sudden, and it seems as everyone hit the roads at the same time (parents trying to get home to kids, businesses closed when schools announced, etc.) . If you’ve ever been in a normal rush hour traffic here, you have a good idea of how the gridlock happened.
I have many friends that it took 3, 6, 8, 10 and even 12 hours to get home. There are people just getting home today or even still stranded. Grocery stores, Home Depots, drug stores, random restaurants opened their doors to take stranded motorists in last night. There has been an incredible outpouring of support from on an individual level. There’s a Facebook group called SnowedOutAtlanta if you want to scroll through there and see the craziness unfolding and how people mobilized to help. Late last night a State of Emergency was finally declared and the National Guard was called to help rescue all those people stranded on the interstates and streets.
This was my personal experience of all of that:
My day yesterday started off normally. I saw a client in the morning, and when she left we were surprised by a dusting of snow outside. I had2 BCI meetings in the afternoon and watched the snow steadily falling through my window. I wasn’t really concerned though, b/c my afternoon client had already cancelled, and I was in for the day/night. My Facebook kept pinging with notifications as my friends were posting updates of their hours-long commutes and gridlock conditions. When my friend Elizabeth called at 5pm yesterday, I answered by asking “do you want to come over?” assuming she was somewhere in my neighborhood. Elizabeth was on the verge of panic. She had her 1 year old daughter with her, she’d been in the car for over 3 hours and had only gone a few miles towards home. She found herself trapped by hills and wrecks – not able to make it back to her office and unable to make it home. We got her as close to my house as ice and hills and wrecks would allow, and I trekked a few miles to reach her and her baby in her car. She was in work clothes so I was really grateful to have an extra pair of boots for her. We abandoned the car along with many, many others on the side of the road, covered her baby in blankets and made the trek back home. Cars were slipping and sliding everywhere, I saw teenagers working to push cars out of the way so an ambulance could get through, emergency vehicles were working to clear 2 accidents, and I saw 2 school buses, one empty besides the driver, one with 2 lonely scared kids in the back. We tried to get a few people to come back home with us, but they all wanted to forge ahead and just get home. We made it home safe and sound a little after dark and a little shaken up. As we watched the happenings unfold last night we realized just how incredibly lucky we were. Elizabeth’s husband, a teacher at a local high school, was able to walk 3 miles home last night in the dark (lots of kids, teachers, and staff spent the night at that high school). The hiking boots and wool socks he was wearing were a great help, the khaki pants not so much in the cold wind. This morning I walked a few more miles on a diaper and pacifier run. There were parts of the walk that were a little sketchy and scary. It was also incredibly beautiful, and I saw more people out trying to help each other and clearing the roads to allow for salt trucks and emergency vehicles to make it through. The picture attached is from my walk this morning. It was 10 degrees so I only took one picture b/c that’s just too dang cold for my bare hands.
Not long after I got back from the grocery store, Elizabeth’s husband was able to drive here to my house to pick them up. He did a little slipping and sliding, but the salt, sun and 4WD made it possible. They are now happily ensconced in their own home. They have been gushing of their praise of us, but honestly, it all happened pretty easily and I was more than happy to be able to help. She gave me a gift by allowing me to do something in all of this. She would do the same for me. You would gratefully do the same for another. That’s just life, we help each other.
Tomorrow we are supposed to get up into the forties. There will be a lot of tow trucks and people going back to get their cars. We’re being told to wait until noon to allow priority for emergency vehicles. Schools will be closed b/c we still have icy roads and only a handful of trucks, salt, equipment to handle this. This has been such a crazy experience. I’ve seen a lot of people posting about “those stupid southern drivers and 2″ of snow”. I won’t put any energy into that except to say, this was/is a much bigger issue than some inexperienced drivers. My thankful prayers go out to the Universe for all of the wonderful support and love that happened yesterday. Sometimes the challenging times show us just how bright we can shine.
Thanks for being out there. Thanks for listening.