Due to the abysmal lack of response by state and local authorities to a winter storm, FlyerTalk members report being stranded in the Atlanta metropolitan area until further notice…
…and it is not because of flight delays and cancellations — of which there have already been thousands nationwide due to the winter storm — but rather because of highways clogged with cars abandoned due to severe gridlock conditions and ice on the roadways throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area yesterday, which means that FlyerTalk members either cannot get to the international airport in Atlanta or are wondering if they will be able to catch their flights…
…and politicians have been raked by the media and by citizens in general due to the poor response.
FlyerTalk members have been scrambling to find lodging both in and out of the airport, which was already a problem at both Hilton hotel properties and Marriott hotel properties due to conventions which were supposed to occur this week.
Meanwhile, FlyerTalk member RealHJ reported of waiting seven hours for aircraft to be deiced at the international airport which serves Atlanta — and if you were actually able to leave the international airport in Atlanta, returning to your car might have been impossible.
Officials of city, county and state governments in Georgia were caught off-guard by the weather forecasts, which predicted that a winter storm would primarily affect areas south of Atlanta — but the storm dumped between one and five inches of snow on the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. The decision to keep schools, government offices and businesses opened yesterday led to all three entities releasing students and employees at approximately the same time, leading to congestion on primary, secondary and tertiary roadways so severe that it caused unimaginable gridlock.
A state of emergency was declared by Nathan Deal — the governor of Georgia — late yesterday afternoon.
Government officials countered that the decision to shut schools, businesses and roadways on a whim because an event such as this was possible would have been irresponsible; and therefore they would have been chastised for denying businesses from engaging in commerce for the day — resulting in a potential loss of millions of dollars — and closing schools when they could have been open.
In other words, being a government official for this particular event is a no-win situation. Do you agree?
Ironically, millions of dollars have already been lost in the state and local economies anyway — and hundreds of vehicles still litter the highways. Hundreds of children were forced to stay overnight in schools because they could not get home; while others arrive home many hours later.
For those people who were actually able to reach their destinations, as many as twelve hours were spent getting to them. Some commutes which would have normally taken minutes took many hours.
Fortunately for FlyerTalk members, the freezing temperatures will not last too long in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. The high temperature will reach 42 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, January 30, 2014 and keep rising every day through the weekend, when the high temperature is expected to reach 63 degrees Fahrenheit…
…and each day will be sunny, helping to melt the ice and snow in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Hopefully, government officials will have learned some hard lessons to prevent this disaster from happening again in the future…