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talks to wolves
Okay, so...

A couple of inches of snow has crippled the South. A state of emergency has been declared in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. And...I'm baffled.

With good reason.

March 13th was the 21st anniversary of 1993 "Storm of the Century." If you have no idea what I'm talking about, feel free to take time to follow the link and read the Wikipedia article. I was living on 16th Avenue South in Birmingham, and the city was hit with, depending on the location within the city, 13-17 inches of snow. Yes. That much. And it was bad. Because Birmingham is unaccustomed to getting snow, and it's certainly unaccustomed to that sort of snow. Roofs collapsed. Massive and longterm power outages. Etcetera.


Birmingham got only two inches of snow yesterday from "Leon" (these names aren't actually official, by the way). Atlanta got between .5-1.6 inches. Or thereabouts. This isn't especially impressive. No, not even for Alabama and Georgia. I lived there most of my life, and it happens. What was extraordinary wasn't the snow, it was the way people reacted to the snow. Near as I can tell, a combination of media/social media-fueled hysteria and poor judgment by — well, by lots of folks — created a man-made disaster, this "Snow Jam 2014." It wasn't the snow. Still, I'm seeing people online who lived through the 1993 storm act as if this truly is a remarkable snowfall, as if they've never seen the likes of it in all their lives.

So...I'm baffled. Here, we got a couple of inches in the night. Which I definitely could have lived without.


Twelve days since I last left the House. Fourteen days is my record.

Yesterday almost felt like a work day. I dealt with some email. I signed the signature pages for the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (photos behind the cut, below). I read back over everything I've written on the story that won't be called "Shutter." I didn't actually write.

Anyway, there you go. Try not to spend it all in one place.

Eyeing Bolivia,
Aunt Beast


( 27 comments — Have your say! )
Jan. 29th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
I did laugh at the way the situation was being referred to as "Hothlanta" yesterday. Even by freak storm snowfall California standards that's not much snow at all.

That is a very bowtie pullover you've got on there, Aunt Beast.
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:28 pm (UTC)

"Hothlanta" yesterday.

I'd not heard that one. Cute.

That is a very bowtie pullover you've got on there, Aunt Beast.

I actually hate hoodies. But I was freezing.
Jan. 29th, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
Wow, that is a hefty stack of pages to sign!

I remember the "Storm of the Century", from a Pennsylvania perspective. That was the last huge snowfall of its kind for me before having relocated to the West Coast. Aside from the rare dusting on nearby mountaintops (or layers of frost on cars/apartment roof), I daresay I would be content to never experience snow firsthand again.
Jan. 29th, 2014 05:59 pm (UTC)
I was in Europe when that snow storm hit, so I have no recollection that there was that many inches of snow ever in the South. However, the reaction today speaks to the state of fear that the media and government has a good chunk of the population living ridiculous.
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:08 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I was saying earlier that the Weather Channel naming these storms, combined with their reporting style, is giving the storms more power. Also, social media is creating an entirely new form of hysteria.
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:29 pm (UTC)

However, the reaction today speaks to the state of fear that the media and government has a good chunk of the population living ridiculous.

I honestly don't think we need to invoke the media to explain why people behave like idiots.
Jan. 29th, 2014 09:21 pm (UTC)
I recall similar panic in the 1970's in Washington DC, when a few inches of snow shut down everything. It's not just media.
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC)
we have the same with the transplants here, once the rains start, they painic.
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:18 pm (UTC)
Here is what I've posted to my Facebook, to try and help people understand:

OK, so I'm going to say this to try and help folks understand what's going on with the mess in the South in terms of the weather. Because I'm tired of seeing all the jokes and laughing. It's not the smallish amount of snow they got that's causing the problems, people. IT'S THE ICE. You can't see the veneer of ice in pictures - you're seeing a small dusting of snow and thinking "that's nothing, what's the big deal!" It's the ice. I grew up in Virginia, and it was never the 1 inch of snow that was getting schools closed - it was the ice that came with the snow.

The thing about the ice is that salt often won't melt it (it's too dang thick), and plows can't plow it up (because plows can't actually "scrape" the surface of the road - they have to stay above the surface so as to not damage the plow blade and wreck the road asphalt).
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
The headlines are misleading by not mentioning the ice, the ICE underneath the bit of snow. We're located above the worst of it, (close to Huntsville) had some ice and snow but not where it caused as many problems as it did elsewhere. Unlike midstate AL and lower, and following across to GA and the horrors around Atlanta. My understanding is Birmingham is closed until further notice.

The jokes are wearing a little thin w. me too. Our snow/ice
'equipment' is two guys from the city riding in the back of a pickup truck while dumping bags of sand on the interstate bridges.
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:53 pm (UTC)

My understanding is Birmingham is closed until further notice.

That's my impression.

I'm not trying to give anyone a hard time here. I was just extremely confused and working from what the news is telling us. Something went very wrong, and I don't think – ice or no – the root cause is the weather. The weather was the trigger, the catalyst that seems to have set in motion a lot of seriously questionable decisions.

Edited at 2014-01-29 07:54 pm (UTC)
Jan. 30th, 2014 07:38 am (UTC)
The news was not mentioning the ice under the snow for a long time, which is what was baffling to many people. Some media outlets seemed intent on playing the old 'let's make fun of the South bc they can't handle snow' angle. My sense of humor was sorely tested after hearing local news reports and then it being largly ignored by national news for a long time in favor of how an inch of snow could shut down Atlanta.

Most definitely a lot of questionable decisions were made in regard to the storm. I agree that something went really wrong somewhere. My niece lives outside Hoover and she used the phrase 'completely caught off guard' to describe how the authorities were acting in handling the situation.

Jan. 29th, 2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
I remember that storm. We lived right next to the tree that owned itself, and I spent some part of the day helping people with bald tires make it up the hill on Baxter St. My wife, who had just moved down from Guelph, Ontario, thought we were all panicky little children.
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC)

I remember that storm. We lived right next to the tree that owned itself,

I miss Athens so badly.
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
Why must you stoke my book lust so cruelly?

Also, why 66?
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)

I cannot explain 66.
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
The last photo makes me laugh. What's so interesting about your shirt?
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
It's from a video game we play. The Secret World.
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)

Yup. Good ol' Innsmouth Academy.
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
Nice hoodie, Aunt Beast. Is it Spooky's?
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:52 pm (UTC)

Yes, it is.
Jan. 29th, 2014 08:58 pm (UTC)
That is a great hoodie--even if one never heard of The Secret World.
Jan. 29th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)

Jan. 30th, 2014 05:28 am (UTC)
I'm not sure of the date, maybe 10 years ago, living in Evergreen, CO at 7500 ft. elev. We received 5 FEET of snow. Storm of my lifetime, I am 53. The world shut down for 5 days- no power. I had an apparently turn of the century gas heating system that shunned electricity, so I still had heat and hot water. I walked- we set up in a local bar, ate everything in their freezer, smoked pot openly and drank heavily, played pool by candlelight- literally, ringed the pool table with tea lights. Ah, playing stoned pool by candlelight with 9 foot snow drifts outside........Aaaahhh......
Jan. 30th, 2014 07:35 am (UTC)
This is apropos of nothing, but have you heard of the upcoming Maleficent movie? Any thoughts? I know it's disney, but I wanna believe...mostly I want to believe in deliciously shadowy powers.

Jan. 30th, 2014 02:38 pm (UTC)
Jacksonville FL closed their schools yesterday, for RAIN - it was 35 degrees out. I'm as baffled as you are. I would have understood Jax's point for snow - last snowfall here was 1989.
Jan. 30th, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)

35 degrees is cold enough that just a few degree drop could make ice on bridges and overpasses, so they were probably taking the "better safe than sorry" approach.
( 27 comments — Have your say! )