It's Our Turn: You think we have it bad? Look at Atlanta!
Well, we made it past the halfway point of winter. The middle of January is the time when our average daily high temperatures begin to push upwards and we actually see some sunshine past 5 p.m.
It has not been easy to make it this far. In January alone we had seven days when temperatures did not make it above zero degrees Fahrenheit. Most recently we struggled through this extreme cold on Monday and Tuesday, and on those days school children were told to stay home.
Even though we had to overcome a day where the high temperature was a frigid 13 below zero, this does not come close to the insanity that was happening in Atlanta. A couple of inches of snow and ice fell on Tuesday before the city’s rush hour, and what happened next was a total nightmare.
There were crashes everywhere. Thousands of motorists were reportedly stranded in their cars overnight as roadways turned into parking lots. Among those who were trapped were thousands of students who spent the night at local schools while the roads were jammed.
NBC reported in many cases that cars started to run out of gas and truckers were taking in drivers to keep them warm. Many people left their cars and spent the night in churches, grocery stores and other businesses.
National Guard troops were even deployed to distribute blankets and “meals ready to eat” along one Interstate in the metropolitan area.
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddy Freeman tweeted that he was trapped in his car for more than five hours before he was picked up on a four-wheeler by former Braves All-Star, Chipper Jones.
I have seen some crazy weather in my 24 years of living in Minnesota, but not once have I been stuck on a highway overnight. I can only assume that it would be a terrible experience.
While we clearly have much worst winter weather than Atlanta, at least we have been trained to properly respond.
Sure Interstate 94 is sometimes shut down because of the weather, but to my knowledge a winter storm has not trapped thousands of our motorists on the roads at one time.
Thankfully we have crews that plow and de-ice our roads at all hours of the day so that we can travel as safe as possible. Their around-the-clock work keeps us going all winter.
So next time we have a few inches of snow and you are driving to work or some other destination, think of what happened on January 29, 2014, in Atlanta.
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“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.