Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

February 3, 2014

TIDBITS: Surviving the winter weather

CROSSVILLE — I demand a recount, a do-over, a mulligan — something that will give that furry little weather forecaster up in Pennsylvania an opportunity to change his mind on his prediction. I just don't think I can handle another six weeks of the bitter cold winter weather and I'm sure he got it wrong.

I'm not pulling a Gov. Deal here. I'll pay attention to the weather forecasts and prepare accordingly by dutifully reporting to my local foodstuffs store and stocking up on milk, bread and eggs should more snow enter the forecast. I don't really use a lot of milk, bread or eggs in my regular diet, but apparently I should have these things on hand in the event of a blizzard the likes of which we haven't seen since 1993.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, in case you missed it last week, blamed the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia's horrific traffic debacle on faulty forecasts. He called it an "unexpected storm" that dumped ice and about two inches of the white stuff on metro Atlanta, the country's ninth-largest metro area.

Sadly, that poor attempt at a scapegoat only gave those smug TV folks more fodder for jokes and finger pointing. You see, it turns out that meteorologists had warned the city would see one to two inches of snow nearly 24 hours earlier. The EMA director has been taking a lot of criticism for the non-response to a freak weather event that left thousands stuck in traffic, kept children at school overnight and shut the city down.

Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed fanned the flames when he seemed to blame businesses and schools for turning everyone out at the same time, creating havoc on the Atlanta roads. I suppose Mayor Reed doesn't drive in Atlanta often. I have yet to travel through this city without some level of havoc going on with its roadways.

There were more than 1,460 crashes in Atlanta between last Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening. Two involved fatalities and there were more than 175 injuries. Motorists spent hours idling on the interstate. A friend of mine spent about ten hours idling to go the two miles he needed to get to his exit. Those who were unable to get out of the city (only to be stuck on the roadway) spent the night sleeping on loungers in home improvement stores and other 24-hour businesses.

Of course, all of this was just too easy for our dear friends north of the Mason Dixon, who deal with snow much worse than this on a regular basis. The jokes were plentiful, and they kept on coming.

It's similar to when we get a snow here. Many will wonder why schools are closed when there doesn't seem to be all that much snow. I don't envy the director of schools. When it comes to calling a snow day, you're going to make people mad no matter what decision you make. But what many fail to consider is that many of our roads are small, curvy roads in rural areas. The topography is different than the prairie states. So the school officials, working with transportation and road department officials, have to decide what is best for the safety of our children. Consider the bitter cold we've had. Would you want a child standing out in -4 degree weather waiting on a bus that is not going to be all that warm, either? I don't think anyone believes that would be a good idea. That's why I support calling school off for those ridiculously cold days, even if the roads were clear.

But, just because one road is clear doesn't mean they all are. We don't have an army of snow plows and salt trucks to clear every road in the county. Nor would we want to spend the kind of money it would take to equip our transportation departments with that army of snow plows. The amount of snow we get on a typical year does not justify it, at all.

So, let's look to our Southern neighbors and ask ourselves, just how often does Atlanta get any snow or ice? It's a rare event, to say the least. There are only about 30 or 40 snow plows in all of Atlanta. Why should they buy more? It snows once a decade, if that.

Of course, the traffic debacle just brought to light what is always a problem in Atlanta, that traffic. Gas isn't going to get cheaper, and the city can't keep building bigger interstates. A better transportation plan is needed so that everyone can move about the city with at least a little ease. Maybe they'll look into that now.

Another silver lining? This happened in the South, where we are hospitable. It's in the handbook. No, not everyone lives up to it on a daily basis, but it's a pretty hospitable place, especially when folks need help. There were stories of people going out of their way to help stranded motorists or those unable to get home. A hotel opened its lobby to those with no place to go. The staff got them bedding and phone chargers (the most left-behind item at a hotel, by the way) and tried to make them comfortable. The manager even walked three miles to a nearby hospital to get heart medication for a man who was unable to fill his prescription before the snow hit as pharmacies closed early.

Up the road a ways, a man spent his birthday shuttling children and staff home from school a few at a time in his pickup truck. This is also a bit of a "Southern" joke. If you run off the road in the South, don't worry. Some guys will be by in a pickup truck before long to pull you out. I've been the recipient of this kindness myself. And it is always so very appreciated. We can't all have four-wheel drive, but we can be thankful for those who do.

And though it was a bit chilly to hand out glasses of iced tea to those sitting for hours and going nowhere fast on I-285, two friends living near the intersection of I-75 and I-285 did what they could to warm the hearts and the tummys of those stuck in gridlock, handing out hot chocolate and doing what they could to help.

If we've got another round of winter weather on its way, let's all do what we can to help those we see in need of a little warmth and kindness.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

 

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice