Leaders, residents did it right for the great winter storm of 2014
by Don McKee
February 13, 2014 07:14 PM | 6514 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A winter wonderland of snow-covered trees appeared all around our house after the ice storm passed. And best of all, no power outage with the bonus of a warming fire in the fireplace and a working television to watch the weather news.

Kudos to Gov. Nathan Deal for getting ahead of this storm with wholesale use and deployment of state resources, to Cobb EMC, Georgia Power and the numerous teams from other states that rushed here to help restore power.

And for once, we the people of metro Atlanta, known for the almost total inability to drive when even a tad of snow or ice falls, stayed off the roads. It was “lesson learned” after the disastrous Great Snow Jam of a couple of weeks ago which surely will go down in history as the worst traffic gridlock of all time.

Deal shut down state government, and local governments followed suit. So did the schools which are being doubly safe this time by staying closed Friday — although many were fortuitously already scheduled for winter breaks or teacher furlough days. According to news reports, state school officials are going to seek authority from the state board of education to give districts the option of not making up the winter storm days included in the state of emergency.

The worst of the storm descended on the Augusta area where about 125,000 homes and buildings were hit by power outages from falling trees and branches breaking lines. On Thursday morning, I called my friend, Joel Pritchett, who is in dental school in Augusta to check on him and his wife, Emma. They had been without electricity all night while the temperature inside dropped to 60 degrees.

“It just came back on a few minutes ago,” Joel said. About all the warmth they had during the night was from candles they lit. But they were doing fine and the power was back on.

Here in Cobb, it’s remarkable that only a few hundred folks lost power and hopefully were restored in short order. As for more school holidays for students, the thaw at least breaks their cabin fever while maybe some parents have a chance to renew acquaintances with their children.

Finally, the winter storm confinement of men to their homes prompted Sheriff Scott Berry of Oconee County just south of Athens to post a “No Valentine’s Day Zone” on his department’s Facebook. That zone runs from a line north of I-16 to the Georgia-Tennessee line. The tongue-in-cheek posting said men in that zone are “exempt from having to run out and buy lottery scratchers and Hershey bars from the corner stores until Feb. 18, 2014, due to ice, snow, freezing rain.”

But the sheriff should know that neither sleet nor snow nor power outages shall suffice to stop the flowers and candy and other appropriate gifts for this occasion.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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