Manners: Snow in the South

I live in the “heart of the south” – Atlanta.  We’re rather infamous for shutting down for snow. Every time it really pisses me off. Yes, some people freak out at the word “snow” and take all the bread and milk from every grocery store in range. Somehow these are always the people the media seems to get their hands on.

A) We don’t get snow. We tend to be hovering right at freezing. So we don’t get the nice, fluffy snow flakes that build up into banks of traction.  It hovers at 0’C or 31-33’F, so it’s slushy and when it freezes it’s ice, not snow anymore. And no one drives well on ice (see stories from New York, Ohio, and my favorite over 600 accidents in Minnesota in the last 2 months).  Somehow when ice hits the south and we can’t drive on it, suddenly making fun of southerns on national news is perfectly acceptable. You don’t hear about the over 600 accidents in 12 hours in Minnesota on national news for days on end, talking about the failure of the city to prepare for snow and ice.  Why didn’t we make fun on them? They should know how to drive on it. Don’t they get snow and ice for months on end every single year?

B) We don’t have trucks.  I mean snow trucks, ice trucks – you know the tools that northern states keep on hand in order to prepare roads and treat roads during ice and snow. How many trucks do we need?  How many tax dollars should we devote to maintaining a fleet? How much time should we devote for drivers to be trained? How should we train them when we don’t have the conditions?

C) We don’t have enough salt, snow tires, or anything else that is sold every year – all winter – in northern states. Why would Home Depot or Walmart or any store stock up on ice salt in a city that isn’t going to buy it regularly?  They know the market is smarter for using that shelf space for other things. BBQ is a year-round activity here and the grills take up a lot of floor space…

D) Lastly, (perhaps even most strongly) the city of Atlanta have averaged less than 3″ of snow in over 70 years or record-keeping (SE Regional Climate Center). Yeah, snow is weird to us. As weird as a massive hurricane to New York City. I will be honest, I had to bite my tongue a little when Sandy swung north.  know how horrible hurricanes can be – and I can only imagine how bad it is if you live in a part of the country that doesn’t have the supplies, the infrastructure, or the experience to deal with this type of weather. Sound familiar?

So yes, we freak out and post pictures about single flakes and light dustings. Good manners might be remembering that it isn’t nice to make fun of someone who has a cheap, frustrating imitation of what you have and may not have the resources to take care of it as well as you do.