AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Northeast Georgia shows how to survive the Snowpocalypse


What if they predicted a big storm and nobody went nuts getting ready for it?

That's pretty much what happened this weekend in the small towns of northeast Georgia. Even though the area got way more snow and ice than metro Atlanta, no one seemed to panic. People in the mountains know that it sometimes snows in the winter, and they behave accordingly.

A two-day trip to Gainesville, Tallulah Falls, Clayton and Mountain City found a refreshing level of acceptance of the storm (although that may be partly because it didn't live up to the dire forecasts of Thursday and Friday). A man in Mountain City, downhill from Black Rock Mountain, said he had hoped for more snow. A couple from Jackson County drove to Rabun County so their kids could hike in the snow.

Generally, people in the mountain region stayed home until mid-day on Saturday. A lot of stores closed. Up and down U.S. 23, along Old Highway 441 and elsewhere, not a single car was abandoned in a ditch. A snowfall that would have caused Snowmageddon II in metro Atlanta was simply no big deal, really nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Read more here.

Are there lessons to be learned here? Maybe it's that we could all use a little more common sense: not rushing to the grocery store to decimate the bread and milk aisles every time flurries are expected, staying off the roads until the storm has passed, and not hyping every bit of run-of-the-mill winter weather as the storm of the century.

Crazy talk? Probably. But the next time a forecast of snow sets off widespread panic across the Atlanta region, remember the example of our neighbors in the mountains. It doesn't have to be this way.



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