It’s hard to believe we were cycling on the Greenway in 60° weather in early February and were inspired to pick up primroses at Pike’s Nursery. We planted them the same day, spruced up the yard and picked a big bouquet of daffodils from the clumps in the woods out back. We knew it was too good to last, and just a week later we started a spell of much lower temps and even enough ice to close the schools for a day.
That’s Atlanta weather for you. We’ve had some of our biggest snow storms in February and March, but we also get spring-like weather sprinkled throughout those months. The ice that hit us Presidents Day snapped tree limbs throughout Atlanta, and for us, that meant just enough limbs down in the yard to beef up our supply of kindling for the wood burning stove.
The thing about Atlanta ice and snow that is little understood by our Northern neighbors is that black ice or ice layered beneath snow is treacherous. That’s the reason Atlanta shuts down at the drop of a hat. It’s not so much that we get heavy snow that blocks the roads; it’s the ice that makes the roads impassable. And it’s the ice on tree limbs and power lines that knocks out our power.
This year we may be trigger happy when it comes to the winter weather given the 2014 storm that came to be known as Snowmageddon. The city really did come to a screeching halt last January when snow prompted some wise person to let all the schools out around 1 PM, leading to most businesses following suit and traffic on interstates and surface streets coming to a standstill. You no doubt read about the school buses stranded overnight on highways and people who didn’t get home until midday the next day. It made for an amazing story and made Atlanta the laughing stock of the nation for a few days.
Hindsight being what it is, the powers that be determined it would have been smarter to have called off school before the day started, even though there was not yet any snow on the ground. As I was driving six miles home during Snowmageddon, a trip which took five+ hours, I was reminded of my dad teaching me how to drive in snow and ice when I was a teenager—in Atlanta.
Since we’d lived in NYC before moving to Georgia, Daddy considered it mandatory that I know how to drive in winter storms. He took me out on a big curvy hill that had four lanes, and I slipped and slid down that hill several times as he coached me to turn into the skid until I got it right. Fortunately, we didn’t encounter any other cars out on the road that day.
Not long after that lesson, we had an overnight snowstorm and, never batting an eye, I promptly got in my car the next morning and drove to work in downtown Atlanta. Imagine my surprise when mine was the only car in the parking lot and I was unable to get in the office. My employers were similarly shocked to find out I’d driven in.
These days, I’m fortunate to work at home with little reason to leave the house on treacherous days, and I’m wishin’ and hopin’ for another 60° day to break this streak of chilly temps. This morning, it’s 12°. For Atlanta, that’s COLD.