Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

January 30, 2014

Common sense isn’t so common

VALDOSTA — Forecasters talked about the storm system moving across the Southeastern U.S. for several days, adjusting the forecast continuously to provide the most up-to-date weather information.

Weather maps, available on any mobile device, clearly showed the advancing front, the line of ice, snow and freezing rain.

With the latest news literally at anyone’s fingertips, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with weather apps, weather alarms, GPS, maps, road conditions listed on various websites, officials in Atlanta claim they had no forewarning of the storm?

According to a CNN story Wednesday, no public officials have accepted any blame or taken responsibility for the debacle on the roadways Tuesday afternoon. Motorists stranded for 12 or more hours. Children on school buses for eight to 10 hours, or having to sleep at school. Gridlock on downtown streets and all major arteries. A major city crippled. By an inch or two of snow and sleet.

After the finger pointing dies down, perhaps the parents who let their children go to school, the school officials who claim they were caught unaware, the state officials who said they didn’t have time to plan and mobilize their sand trucks, and all business and government officials who waited until the last possible moment to shut down for the day — perhaps they will apologize to the law-enforcement officials who were stuck cleaning up the mess they created.

The men and women who patroled highways, delivered a baby on the side of the interstate, rescued motorists who ran out of gas, and kept citizens safe and calm. They, along with school officials who had to stay overnight in schools with students, are heroes today. As are the numerous residents in the Atlanta area who shared food and water, opened their homes to strangers, pushed cars out of ditches and thousands of other small and large acts of kindness.

Thankfully, the good in this Southern city has overshadowed ridiculously poor planning and lack of communication by its leaders. Weather systems and ice storms caught people by surprise decades ago, but in today’s technology-driven world, there’s no excuse for the lack of leadership.

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