Climate change or no, it is a very serious situation.
Several inches of snow fell in the Atlanta metro area, rather
more and earlier than expected. Schools let out early and unexpectedly. School buses failed to arrive. Car-dependent parents set out on the road. Gridlock ensued. Some students are stuck in schools overnight.
It seems peculiar that such a moderate snowfall could have such serious consequences, even though it is a rare enough event that far South. I imagine ice was involved as well.
A state of emergency for every county in the state of Georgia was declared at 4 PM.
At this moment (well after midnight) people are stuck on the roads and interstate, running out of fuel. (A little wasted gasoline for good measure.) The overnight temperature will be around 17 or 18 F (- 8 C).
At 11:45 PM, the National Guard was called out to rescue stranded motorists, which seems like a very thickheaded delay to me.
I have a screen capture of Google’s traffic map of Atlanta; it’s after 2 AM Atlanta time, and it’s all red and black.
I hope there are no casualties but at this point it seems likely that there will be some.
Disaster support has self-organized on Facebook. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/397839673695382/ for example.
The national news is so far missing the seriousness of the situation. My informant in Atlanta writes:
“maybe it’ll get onto the list of top stories. But they’re all in the Northeast, and the prefabricated storyline for this event has been “stupid rednecks.” So, I don’t know if it’ll get taken seriously and the actual story will get told.”
My informant’s Facebook link includes this from a stranded motorist:
” I cannot even express my feelings right now as I sit on the shoulder of the 75 out of gas and stuck sleeping in my car.”
My friend informs me that similar problems stretch through the entire densely populated zone west to Birmingham AL.
UPDATE Wednesday, about 24 hours into the crisis:
Significant melting is not expected until tomorrow. The situation is ongoing.