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Cover those peachtrees

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If only Abraham Lincoln knew that some moderate snow and ice could cripple the people of the South, perhaps he could have ended the Civil War much sooner with the help of a few shamans.

A storm struck Atlanta last week that, had it happened in most Northern communities, wouldn’t be considered a big deal. But cars came to a halt on streets and highways throughout Georgia’s capital as municipal agencies were ill prepared to deal with the icy conditions brought on by less than 2 inches of snow.

For veterans of numerous winters in the north country, 2 inches is a light dusting. When the snow accumulation gets to about 2 feet, then you can call it breaking news.

It’s not that officials in Atlanta and surrounding towns didn’t know the Sou’easter was on its way. Weather alerts had been issued by both CNN and the Weather Channel — which are both based in Atlanta.

The problem is that those who oversee the roads didn’t translate that the pending snow would create slick conditions that would require plowing and salting. The icy streets made driving very hazardous, and traffic in areas stopped completely. Many people abandoned their cars just so they could get home.

“What would have happened if [Sunday’s] Super Bowl was being played in Atlanta? After all, we’ve felt slighted by the National Football League for overlooking us,” wrote Andre Jackson, the editorial editor for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, in an article titled “Snowpocalypse now” in Sunday’s paper. “Well, it looks like we might deserve it. We insist on proceeding with each county as its own independent entity — and new cities cropping up like spring tulips — with each of them overseeing their share of the metro’s already-inadequate patchwork of roads. If we continue on that path, the leaders of those places have to be prepared to handle their business — and communicate effectively with the public to prevent problems from worsening.”

A former Lewis County resident told the Watertown Daily Times last week that the light snow in the South was worse than just about anything we’ve seen here in the north country.

“Former Glenfield resident Naomi J. Pominville said the roughly 1.5 inches of snow that fell in her Marietta, Ga., neighborhood on Tuesday brought far worse consequences than storms she had seen in the north country,” according to the Jan. 31 story in the Times. “Her normal 20-minute commute from the suburb of Atlanta was extended to two hours, and she was forced to remain homebound for two days while road crews cleaned up the mess on highways.”

Miss Pominville then hit the nail on the head when it comes to keeping a region moving through a severe winter.

“At least up in Northern New York, people are prepared; there are trucks ready to go out to plow or salt,” she said in the story. “People in the South didn’t know how to handle it.”

The north country has experienced some of the worse winter conditions this year than it has in at least several seasons. And it’s a fact that there have been some major problems associated with it.

But by and large, those charged with keeping the roads passable and maintaining vital services have done a remarkable job. So let’s not take for granted the resources we have here in Northern New York to make it through another north country winter.

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