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4 Reasons Why 2 Inches of Snow Paralyzed Metro Atlanta

How did a couple of inches of snow play so much havoc and paralyze the 6 million residents of metro Atlanta?

Atlanta's Downtown Connector was slammed-packed with cars at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Courtesy ga511.org
Atlanta's Downtown Connector was slammed-packed with cars at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Courtesy ga511.org
A defiant Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed appeared on national television morning shows Thursday to defend against critics, who over the previous day-and-a-half have battered the city he leads for not being properly prepared for Winter Storm Leon.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal also hit the Thursday airwaves to respond to those who suggested that the state failed to properly respond to ominous forecasts early Tuesday morning that later brought 2 inches of snow and shut down the metro area’s roads, schools and businesses.

Reed told the NBC's 'Today' show host Matt Lauer that his city’s jurisdiction had no control over school closings and interstates.

A much-less defensive Deal told Fox News that the “appropriate thing to do is apologize for the inconvenience” caused to so many, including thousands who were left stranded on Atlanta’s frozen streets, as well as the 2,000 school kids who were separated from their parents and spent Tuesday evening in schools and other emergency shelters.

Metro Atlanta wasn't helped any by the timing of Tuesday's storm, which didn't hit some areas until the afternoon. Commuters left work early once the snow started flying, but found many others had done the same thing at the same time. That created the epic traffic jams that were seen nationally. Many roads and bridges iced over as cars sat on the road.

The timing affected schools in the same way. Many schools closed early, but buses were delayed longer and longer as the snow fell, until many roads became impassable.

With temperatures climbing above freezing and possibly into the 40s Thursday, Deal said that “the interstates are relatively open and traffic is moving rather freely." Many motorists who had abandoned their vehicles were making their way back to retrieve them on Thursday afternoon.

But how did it happen? How did a couple of inches of snow play so much havoc and paralyze the 6 million residents of metro Atlanta?

In a Politico Magazine article this week written by Rebecca Burns, and titled "The Day We Lost Atlanta," Burns points to four factors:

1. Atlanta, the city, should not be confused with Atlanta, the region.

2). Since the 1950s, the car—and the highway—has dominated Atlanta’s transportation system.

3). The transit that eventually was built does not serve the whole region.

4). Metro voters rejected transit relief in a 2012 referendum.

Burns writes, “More than any event I’ve witnessed in two decades of living in and writing about this city, this snowstorm underscores the horrible history of suburban sprawl in the United States and the bad political decisions that drive it. It tells us something not just about what’s wrong with one city in America today but what can happen when disaster strikes many places across the country."

See here to read the article, which details the "four factors."


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