1-3" Snow: "Residents Advised to Stay Home 3 Days???"

Popping through some news websites, I saw a “Severe Weather Alert”. Worried that it might be important, I clicked on this article:

(link not shortened or imbeded to show that yes, this is an Honest To Og Real News Website.

(If they take it down, this is the graphic)

Now the title is “Winter storm watch: Prepare to stay home for at least 3 days, state says.
The graphic shows that “1-3" of Snow Possible

**What The Ever-Living Fuck…! **

Three days to clear roads in a Major US City? That’s Atlanta, home of Ted Turner & CNN!

I’m pretty damn sure those skyscrapers aren’t building cut outs in front of “Mayberry”.
Pick up trucks with plows could clear the streets in faster than 3 days.
Is this some sort of new ‘Faith Based Snow Removal System’?
“Dear Og, We-ah Beseech Thee! Meh-helt That De-mon Snoooow…!”
(…can I get an Amen…?)

The Department of Public Works in Atlanta Alone operates on a fiscal budget that was for more than $47 million in 2016.
Where is that money going that you can’t clear your roads when it snows?

Hookers & Blow?
(Dats more than three days worth, Bruddah…)

I’m in South Carolina a couple of hours drive from Atlanta–to the best I can recall, the last time we had as much as 3 inches of snow was in late 2010 and early 2011. Many years there isn’t even a “sticking” amount of snow at all. So you are talking about keeping and maintaining a fleet of vehicles that wouldn’t on average be used even once a year.

Vehicles designed to move dirt (like a grader) can be repurposed to move snow


Well, at $47 million for just one city… what are you getting for your money then?

Is this a serious question? You don’t know what a city Public Works department does besides snow removal?

What should the budget be for a city with no snow-clearing capabilities? What’s the correct cost of roads and sanitation ++ for … is it just the 460 thousand of the City of Atlanta? Or do we need to count in at least some of the 5 million in the metropolitan area?

I have relatives in Texas and I’ve joked about how they pull out the state plow when it snows somewhere in the state. But there’s some truth to it. Southern states don’t have the capacity to deal with snow than northern states do. My county probably has more snow plows than the entire state of Georgia has. Which makes sense. Why should a state that hardly ever has a major snowfall spend millions preparing for them?

Eh. . . Snowmageddon, February 2014. But, yeah, the slightest dusting in these parts will shut everything down.

Okay, I remember hearing that term, and the complaints about how things were in Atlanta–but apparently I didn’t get enough snow to have remember it very well. (To me, tree and power line breaking ice storms are the real hazard–in the ice storm of 2001 or 2002 (whichever it was) I was without electricity for 9 days.)

The “three days” recommendation might come from this site, which appears to cover all “winter storms” and not just snowstorms.

Also, the temperatures in Atlanta are expected to be cold even after the storm passes; the forecast lows for Thursday through Sunday nights are 33, 25, 20, and 19.

The average mid-winter low in Atlanta is above the freezing point, so I wouldn’t expect anything else.

No snow tires, no snow-clearing equipment, no salt or sand spreaders, and millions of people who have no idea what to do when the road turns to ice.
Do they even have shovels? Boots?

Staying home for 3 days is good advice. People will ignore it though, and people are going to die.

That’s… not at all surprising, for a Southern city. We live in one: every time there’s any snow predicted, the grocery stores get cleaned out and people panic. Rather irrational, but what can you do.

Here’s why:

  1. There are 40 snowplows and 30 salt trucks in Atlanta proper (465k people, 134 sq. miles) . I can’t find exact numbers, but probably no more than double that in the entire metro Atlanta area (5.5MM people, 8400 sq. miles). Not nearly enough when needed, but balance that against the reality that they may be needed once every 2 years or so.
  2. There are year round stores of salt all along the interstates and some main roads, but during and after a snow/ice storm they can be useless because of reasons 3 & 4
  3. No cars here have snow tires and damn few people even own snow chains, much less carry them in their cars. Any frozen precip makes driving treacherous.
  4. As a result of reason 3, roads can quickly become impassable due to wrecks and abandoned vehicles as people give up and walk. Hell, that has happened during some rush hours when a bad wreck shut down an interstate. Traffic in and around Atlanta is insane under the best conditions. If trucks and plows can’t get through, they are no good to anyone.
  5. Metro Atlanta governments woefully underestimated the impacts of the 2014 storm. It was an unmitigated disaster and officials were fired. Expect an overabundance of caution for the next few years at any mention of winter precip. This will last until the pendulum swings back to “You always overreact and cost taxpayers money, cut it out!”

Life in the south, it is.

It’s traditional for Atlanta to go all to pieces when it snows. You’ll see, they’ll have some cute name for it like Snowghazi or something.

I was on a phone call earlier this afternoon with my clients, who are in Birmingham, Alabama. Their forecast is calling for about 1 to 1.5 inches of snow, starting early tomorrow morning (plus possibly sleet and freezing rain), and they’re a little freaked out about it. Apparently, school closures have already been announced for tomorrow, and it seems likely that my clients’ office will be closed, too.

And, frankly, I can’t blame them. Building on what Doctor Jackson describes in his post above:

  • I expect that Birmingham’s public works / highway commission has little in the way of snow removal equipment or salt
  • The area is rather hilly, making snowy / icy roads even more fun
  • No one there knows how to drive in the snow

Given all that, if I were down there tomorrow, even with my 35 years of experience in winter driving, I don’t know that I’d want to be out in it.

Aside from the fact that the city government is not prepped to handle this kind of weather, the residents themselves go into panic mode, as they don’t know how to drive on the white stuff. Traffic will be backed up so much that a normal 45 minute commute will take 7-8 hours. I have friends that live in ATL and when they do get snow it’s a nightmare, much like Dallas and Houston.

OP: they have updated the article and vastly increased the amount of snow possible: it is now up to 4 inches possible!!!

Actually when I read the title I thought you had misread the article and it actually said 1 to 3 feet–which are current forecasts in parts of the Rocky Mountains.

And a few inches is enough to glaze trees and lines, and to coat the sparsely attended, hilly assed roads of assorted and sundry Hootervilles.

When the boonies ice up, the main roads being clear are not helped by delayed clearng of iced up minor roads.

Actually in the snowbelt snow tires are only used by about 20% drivers; most just use all-season tires.

Poor Atlantaens. I don’t even plow my driveway unless the snow is 8" deep, minimum, and expected to stick. Of course, I do have an AWD car.