Have you ever been stranded? I have a couple of times far away from home due to unforseen circumstances. Generally I just roll with the punches, taking advantage of a break from my busy schedule to explore a new or different area while whatever the cause is being resolved, but this time takes the cake. When I left this afternoon (Monday) to take a foreign exchange student who had been in one of our remote mountain towns to the Atlanta, GA airport for their flight home the weather was great. In fact, it was so nice I stopped to snap the first couple of pictures on the left while enroute to pick the student up. (Yes, there’s seldom a time when my camera is not within reach.) There was a chill in the air and only a few white clouds in the sky for as far as one could see from near the top of the mountain. That’s a very long view. When I dropped the student off I immediately headed back toward the house, about a 3 hour drive when there is no rush hour. The forecast this morning called for snow accumulating at the higher elevations and possible flurries at the lower ones early tomorrow morning (Tuesday) beginning around 1:00 am. We rescheduled the students flight for tonight instead of tomorrow around Noon because I knew if the snow came in during the early morning hours as predicted I would not be able to get to them. Well, the forecasters totally missed it again! It’s 10:30 pm, I’m in North Carolina less than 45 minutes from my house, more like 30 minutes plus “change” and the roads are impassable because of melting snow turning to ice. The D.O.T. has not done a single thing to the roads even though overnight snow has been forecast for 2 days, and it’s apparently fallen long enough to accumulate, melt, then freeze. This is ridiculous, and quite frankly irresponsible for the state!
I considered trying to make the final few miles at a snail’s pace, but after seeing numerous vehicles in the ditch, and a couple of ambulance crews tending to accident victims, I decided to play it safe and get a room for the night. At least the hotel manager gave me a discount. Kudos for him!!! Even with all the accidents not even a county owned truck has put out sand, gravel, or anything whatsoever. I don’t know how it is where my readers are, but here law enforcement relays changing weather and road conditions to the D.O.T. so they can respond appropriately. Besides, with a system coming in like this one, they have always had crews on standby ready to roll at a moments notice. I understand Georgia D.O.T. not doing anything yet since they tend to be a bit warmer than North Carolina, even though the same problem is currently developing there, but North Carolina has no excuse. They have always “preempted” the snow and ice. Perhaps some of those accident victims can find some way to collect the cost of medical care for their injuries from the state due to their (the state, not the victims) negligence. I don’t normally feel that way since it’s a driver’s responsibility to know the forecast and adjust their travel for conditions, but in the area I was in there’s a very long stretch of road with nowhere to safely leave it, and the snows much premature arrival caught drivers by surprise.
Ok, I’ve vented so I’ll get off my soap box now. The one good thing that will come of this is I’ll probably be able to get some good snow pics on the way home Tuesday morning. If not I’ll at least get to see the area with a fresh, sparkling layer of white, and the area kids will get to extend their Christmas vacation by another day or two. 🙂