A Southerner’s Perspective on Snowstorm Preparedness


We’re Southerners. Winter or not, we would never guess that we were going to wake up to a snowstorm. Athens suffered broken pipes and frozen fingers, but, bizarrely enough, it was much worse south and east of us.

2014-02-07_14-55-19After the tornadoes came through on April 27th, 2011, some people lost the meat in their freezers, a few days of work, and the ability to refill at the local pump. Others lost their homes, their property, and many, their lives.

There is a tendency to blame someone else. There always is. Granted, it’s a little hard to blame a tornado on anyone. It happened, and while we can beg for money from the government or complain to our neighbors, it’s not exactly anyone’s fault.


A tornado is sudden and unexpected. A snowstorm, on the other hand, lends itself to scapegoats.

Governors, mayors, weather forecasters; on every level someone was finding someone to blame. “We should have been told, we should have been warned,” people said. I guess we should have had the governor issue an ultimatum with a curfew, restraining regular citizens from their superfluous schooling and working and driving. Just in case we…what, woke up to snow?

Blogger Brian Barrett, in a post that went viral, put it best. “Waking up in Birmingham to snow,” he said, “is like waking up in New Hampshire to quicksand.”

“They took a gamble,” says Al Roker, a television personality at NBC, who – incidentally – has never lived south of the Mason-Dixon. “They didn’t want to pre-treat the roads; I don’t think they wanted to spend the money and do what they needed to.”

Which is probably correct. If he wanted to ship some trucks from New York – you know, the kind that “pre-treat” the roads (I’m Southern, I don’t even know what that means), he could have saved all those people from what turned into a horrible disaster.


Children stuck in schools and on buses, snarled traffic, and lives put at risk is no joke. But that doesn’t mean we have to locate a target to throw rotten tomatoes at.

If mistakes are made, they need to be set right. Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia took an impressive and unprecedented stand when he stated, “I’m not looking for a scapegoat. I am the governor. The buck stops with me.”

Regardless of our proven ability to blame a politician for the weather, it makes far more sense to make sure that we, personally, are prepared for when disaster strikes.

Spend the money, take the time, and make sure you have bottled water in the closet, flashlights with fresh batteries in the drawer, and extra coats and/or blankets in your car trunk.

We live in the age of the Internet. We can watch a weather radar just as well as the meteorologist on television. The question is not whether we’re informed, it’s what are we going to do with that information?
By: Melissa Kirby