Snowmageddon 2014 is history, and we should learn some lessons from it. The winter storm of 2014 had been forecast for at least two days prior to the first snowflake falling. I have a recorded show from Monday, Jan. 27, in which Ben Jones of WMAZ displays various weather models showing snow in Georgia from as far north as Rome all the way down to Cordele, with the largest accumulation forecast for the Macon area and the snow to begin about noon the next day.
Additionally, every model showed Atlanta receiving at least 1 to 2 inches of snow. So, everyone in the state from the smallest school district to the governor knew the storm was coming and that it would bring several inches of snow.
By now, most are aware of the different responses to the storm between the agencies in Middle Georgia and the government agencies around the Atlanta metro area.
Middle Georgia, as a whole, did a very good job of anticipating and preparing for the storm. Schools were closed, government and businesses closed early, and most people were off the streets before the first snow started falling about 6 p.m. In contrast, look at Atlanta, where everybody went about their business and only reacted when the first snow started falling about noon. The result in Atlanta was an absolute disaster, and that is understating the situation. Every highway and every secondary road in the metropolitan area was impassable due to the ice, snow and the sheer volume of traffic as millions of people tried to get home at the same time. Thousands of people abandoned their cars along the highways and walked home. Thousands of children spent the night at their schools and hundreds more in their school buses that were trapped on the road. A woman even gave birth in her vehicle when she was unable to reach the hospital.
Reacting to the worsening situation in Atlanta, a woman set up Snowed Out Atlanta on Facebook. On that page, thousands of people posted requests for help, and thousands more responded with food, shelter and physical assistance. One person commented that the Facebook page provided more help than all the government agencies combined because it brought together those who needed help with those who could provide help.
So, what are some of the lessons learned of Snowmageddon 2014?
Governments, at all levels, plan, direct and assist. However, it is the small local governments (such as those in Middle Georgia) that have more direct involvement with the people and often are better at solving the problem or ameliorating the situation.
As government gets bigger (such as Atlanta metro area and state of Georgia), it makes bigger plans. But their mistakes affect more people and, as we saw, can create huge problems. People working together (without government interference, but with proper assistance from government) are often better at assisting and solving the problem.
Besides Snowmageddon, theres Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, Obamacare, etc. Why does anybody put their undying faith into bigger and bigger government, thinking it can do it better? As Ronald Reagan said, government often is the problem. Get it out of the way, and youll be amazed at what the people will do.
Sloan Oliver is a resident of Juliette.