walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Looks like it's the Governor

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/30/us/winter-weather/

It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next election, as apparently the governor's response in Georgia was considerably worse than I realized. I was blaming him for failing to do something along the lines of what Gov. Patrick did here, ordering government offices closed (recently) and everyone off the roads (in an earlier, more serious storm), while strongly advocating that businesses close. Turns out that wasn't the only failure.

(1) The forecast wasn't being monitored, so when the storm was upgraded, the existing decision not to do anything was not revisited. Nor did the original plan have any trigger to change plans in the event of an upgraded forecast. This is -very very very- basic responsibility for a governor, whether it's a hurricane, snow storm, ice storm, extreme cold weather, tsunami warning, regional fire or other disaster in progress.

(2) Emergency ops center was opened very late. So while (1) is an instance of poor strategy, this is an instance of non-existent tactical response. Each is a serious error.

Many people in northern states and provinces have said things about how "people know how to drive", etc. where they live. However, this isn't a matter of knowing how to drive. Northern states and provinces are characterized by better management of transportation infrastructure in the event of ... unusual events. When infrastructure is managed well, it is largely invisible, with the exception of things like state-wide road closures such as Connecticut and Massachusetts have resorted to in recent months/years. When visible, the management often appears more onerous than _not_ managing -- because the population at large can afford to forget how horrifying it is when management does not occur. This is consistently a problem with strategies that involve a large dose of prevention: people forget how horrible the successfully prevented event is, and only notice the inconvenience or negative side effects of the preventive strategy.

Here is someone from a northern state, commenting on what he experienced driving -- or not driving -- his car hauler through that storm:

""I've hauled cars for 18 years, 48 states and Canada," Greg Shrader, a truck driver from Maine, told CNN on Wednesday after sitting in traffic for 27 hours before giving up on what should have been a 3-1/2-hour trip.
"I have never been failed by officials like I have here. Still no equipment, no well-being check. No plan. I guess they're waiting for it to melt.""

Here's hoping that this learning opportunity is not wasted.

ETA:

AJC's timeline of the storm. Based on what this says, none of the schools in my region would have opened. We would have known that before we went to bed Monday night. At the point that Atlanta schools were saying there was a slight chance of early release on Tuesday, our schools would have been telling the media they were canceled for the following day.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/winter-storm-2014-timeline/nc6k9/

This is not how we run things up here. Altho I will note that a lot of New England natives think we should (including my husband). I'll end this with one more story. T., who is multi-generationally New England, did a lot of complaining about the road closures of the second October snow storm in recent years. As the storm worsened through the morning (she was at our house), the tree that had partially fallen over the previous October snow storm (taking out our power) fell over. She came back in, after going out, to tell us this, and at this point, she started taking the storm a lot more seriously. My response was simple: hey, this is a big improvement over last time. We didn't lose our power this time! She was still pretty wrapped up in the idea she'd just seen a tree go down.

Some people are a lot more prepared than others to make good decisions about the weather. I prefer when they decide, and we comply. It's cheaper, and fewer people die.
Tags: politics
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