Thoughts on Winter Storm Leon

For someone who loves snow as much as I do, I probably shouldn’t be living in the South. I mean, it never snows in the South.

Oh wait. It did Tuesday.

I’m sure most of you saw the mess that became Atlanta. Roads turned to ice skating rinks and drivers were stranded for hours upon hours trying to get home. 

Apparently this traffic was laughable. The people trapped in their cars for 12+ hours was hilarious. The tweets and posts on Facebook making fun of what happened here in Atlanta made me sick.
I have seen so many ignorant and idiotic comments in the past 48 hours. People saying that we overreacted about the storm. People wondering why we ignored the weather reports. No one overreacted and no one ignored the weather reports.  We were told the storm was going to hit Southern Georgia, so the roads hadn’t been prepped, schools weren’t prepared for early dismissal, and businesses hadn’t thought about letting workers leave early. It isn’t anyone’s fault but Mother Nature for the chaos that occurred and no one is to blame. 

Some of our friends had to turn around on the highway and stay at their office overnight. Another friend left her car in the middle of the interstate and walked to a church to seek shelter. I’ve read stories about people sleeping in CVS, Target, and Home Depot. A teacher rocking a kindergartener to sleep because she had to stay the night in the gym and missed her Mommy. A school bus dropping children off at 5 am. A man walking five miles so he could spend the night with his daughter at her school. A pregnant woman stuck in her car for 19 hours.

Instead of being nasty, why don’t we talk about the good that came out of the bad?

People should be talking about the random acts of kindness that have been all over Georgia. An old coworker and his neighborhood gathered all the drinks and food they could find in their homes and brought it to a nearby exit off the interstate. He described how they pushed cars up hills, helped a pregnant woman get home, and came to the rescue of a stranded diabetic man. The news is flooded with stories and tales like that of people who left their homes to help strangers who were stuck in the aftermath of the storm. This is what people should be talking about – selfless and heroic acts of kindness. Not the ‘stupidity’ of people in the South. We aren’t stupid – we were misinformed – and our state was unprepared for Leon.

Note: I felt that I had to post about this after reading what people were saying on the internet. I have been guilty of making fun of people who overreact when a storm hits – I grew up in New England where it always snows and somehow thought that made me better than others. I now know to keep my mouth shut – I know that every storm is unpredictable and sometimes you can’t prepare for what nature has in store. 


  1. says

    Perfectly put! As someone from Houston, I know how it is when people laugh at us for freaking out over a small winter storm. Yes, it’s small in comparison to northern storms, but there’s also the fact that cities down here just aren’t prepared for snow and ice! Houston has over 4 million people…and 2 snow/ice trucks. No wonder we shut down! And then there’s the fact that, like Atlanta, the forecast is almost ALWAYS wrong. You can’t predict mother nature! (So glad you touched on the good parts…I love that ChickfilA handed out free food to stranded motorists!)

  2. says

    I think it was hard for people who are used to more significant storms to grasp why it was such a big deal. I mean, living in Massachusetts, a storm like this is just another day. I remember driving to the airport in a blizzard, and traffic was tough, but we moved. I think people forget that we were bred to live through this. It’s par for the course here. If you’re not ready and not prepared, and not used to it, then how can we expect someone to react how we would. I mean, we are used to this and we still get screwed in storms. I think people need to step outside themselves a little bit more and thing of how terrible it must have been to be stuck like that, not the whole shoulda, woulda, coulda.

  3. says

    I so agree! I am from Syracuse NY (the snow capital of the US) and am so disgusted by all the smug northerners laughing at this crisis. They take the fact that their roads are plowed and salted and sanded and treated with de-icing agent for granted. Not only that but they all have snow supplies and tools in their cars and years of driving experience. Even I can’t drive down here with none of those advantages. Thousands of people went out of their way to help strangers in need this week and that at least, was a wonderful thing.

  4. says

    It’s even more than that. I’m ready and prepared and used to it but none of that matters when roads aren’t cleared at all of snow and ice. It would be impossible for anyone to make a go of it. I assure you that driving down here is a completely different matter, none of my snow driving skills make any difference at all.

  5. says

    As one of those people that were stranded and helpless. It makes me mad that people can be so crass, and simultaneously making me want to cry all over again for myself and for those that were stranded through the night. A horrible, horrible experience for anyone to go through. It was heartwarming seeing people walk the roads helping push people out of the ice and ditches and handing out whatever they could to help their fellow Atlantan.

  6. says

    Driving here in Atlanta is definitely different than driving at home in CT. For starters – we don’t have 6 lane highways. I know that I can drive in the snow, however when there are hundreds of people trying to get home on the same road as me, it doesn’t matter if there is snow, rain, or ice. There will be traffic and there will be accidents and no one knows how to drive in that!

  7. says

    When I moved down here last summer I left my ice scraper and snow shovel in Maryland. I didn’t think I would need it in Georgia considering last time I lived here the winters were warm and pretty rainy. Given the history of the winter weather here, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that our towns aren’t prepared to handle messy roads!

  8. says

    While I think it’s funny that we raid our grocery stores at the first sign of below freezing temperatures, I hate that people make fun of us Southerners for not knowing what to do when we get snow/ice. I don’t think all those people in NJ & NY would find it very funny if we were laughing at them for not being prepared for Hurricane Sandy! I feel awful for all those poor kids that had to spend the night at their schools!

  9. says

    Im here in ATL also and born and raised in Buffalo, NY, so I know snow! This was the craziest thing I have ever seen in my life. Nothing like it ever. I completely agree with you. My husband was in the car for over 14 hours as well as my sister for over 12. Thankfully I work/live/kids school is 5 miles from home and was able to get my girls from school in just 7 short hours. It was nuts I tell you.

  10. says

    I agree that it would be terrible to wind up stuck in a store, or have your children stranded at school. I grew up in NJ, went to school in Albany, and have been living in CT for a few years, so I know how bad snow can be. I don’t think people meant to be cruel. We know that there are many different climates throughout the country, but in New England we are so used to ice and snow that it’s almost unfathomable that other states aren’t prepared. I think when July comes and we’re complaining about 90 degree temperatures, people in Texas & Florida will be laughing at us. It’s just about what you know.

  11. says

    YES to all of this. I live in Birmingham where the exact same scenario played it. I cried with every story about a mother stranded away from her children who had to spend the night at school. If some of these people with their insensitive and rude remarks had seen the chaos and panic first hand, I guarantee they would be keeping their mouths shut. I hope Georgia is beginning to thaw out! Thankfully things are looking up here!

  12. says

    I didn’t see any of the insensitive comments. I can’t believe people would find any of this funny. My boss is from Atlanta, and her family lives there. She was worried sick about them, and I really felt for her, because her grandchildren live there.

  13. says

    I honestly joke about it here in TN how such little snow can render paralysis across the state. Because I am from CT and it doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal. I know that it would be awful if that was me who had been stuck or had a child overnight at school. BUT I do think on some level the government (not the actual people…) should have been a little more prepared in case something like this did happen. I don’t blame the people, but I don’t quite understand how the government couldn’t err on the side of caution…

  14. says

    Living in Utah, this was sort of funny to me when it all went down because storms like that to us are nothing. I always have to remind myself where it’s happening and what kind of weather they’re used to. A month or so ago, St. George had something similar happen. They got a lot more snow, but they’re a warm area that NEVER gets snow. Maybe they’d get some like you guys got, but they could handle that. What they got would have maybe cause slow traffic in Salt Lake area, but they had no plows, no salt for the roads, etc. so the whole town shut down and we all found it humorous. Then I read this post last night ( and I wasn’t smirking anymore because it made me realize JUST how serious it was. I know that they shut places down as soon as they knew the storm was coming. People tried to prepare, but it was something they’d never dealt with and didn’t have the tools to deal with. So now I feel bad about ever complaining when we have a severe winter storm in Utah that turns my 20 minute commute into a couple of hours. I know how annoying it is, but the 12 hour thing, I would give up a few hours in to be honest. 😛 I can’t even imagine! This winter has been weird for everyone. We’re in a weird warm spell but we got some really slushy rain/snow/I don’t know what it was last night and I expected to walk out of my house to 20 degree temperatures (like normal) and iced over roads. But it was 40 degrees this morning, which I guess was good, just really odd.

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