We kick off a 'spring' semester here in Atlanta with a snow day! Classes are canceled for two days and temperatures are dropping to 17 degrees Fahrenheit. We only got an inch of snow, but it just takes an inch for all of Atlanta to shut down.
When it snows in Atlanta, flights are canceled, schools, transportation, and establishments shut down, and people find themselves abandoning their cars in the middle of the road.
If you are up north still recovering from the bomb cyclone, thinking, "Atlanta clearly cannot handle the cold weather", you are one hundred percent correct. But before you begin to mock us for melting down over a few frozen flakes. Keep in mind,
Atlanta does not get snow every day. In fact, we hardly get it every year.
Atlanta was never meant to get this cold. But global warming is surprising the world constantly with record-breaking hurricanes, cyclones, and unexpected snowflakes.
It takes a lot of money and effort to make sure snow doesn't affect the works of a metropolitan area.
The biggest problem with snow days is slippery transportation. When roads and runways ice over they are impossible to maneuver on. Thus up north, cities spread salt to reduce the melting point of the ice and allowing the streets to clear up. However, salt is only effective if kept dry. Northern cities spend a hefty price on storage facilities to keep tons of salt ready for use. Unfortunately, these are measures that Atlanta cannot afford to take just on an off chance that it may or may not snow an inch for one day. Instead, we use sand to add traction to the ice on roads. Sand is much cheaper than salt, but despite good intention, traction is lost after 10 to 15 cars drive over.
With slippery roads, accidents are bound to happen. And roads are essential for transportation and a running city. Classes canceled? Probably because your professor cannot drive to school. Can't catch your bus today? Definitely, because you don't want your bus slipping and risking the lives of the passengers and driver.
Another big problem with snow in Atlanta is the traffic. Traffic is always a problem in Atlanta, but when it snows everyone is trying to go home and it gets even worse. So the first 'snow storm' of 2018, made some traffic standstill, preventing trucks hauling sand and salt from treating roads.
Our mayor, Kasim Reed, stated that rather than allowing everyone leave at once, they should have been staggered to avoid traffic jams; schools first, then private sector, then the government facilities. But in the end, Atlanta just simply does not have enough experience with snow to know what to do on such special days.
I know it may seem ridiculous, that one of the biggest cities in the U.S. can be defeated by a little snowfall. But in the end, it is always better to be safe than sorry.