Unlike a couple of weeks ago in Atlanta, at least North Carolina cancelled schools before the snow hit. But the entire state, in terms of traffic, is still a ginormous clusterfuck. Here’s what I don’t understand:
Snow is paralyzing North Carolina as the state runs into some of the same traffic problems that plagued Atlanta a few weeks ago.
Some roads in Raleigh, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Durham are clogged with traffic. People who are on the roads are getting stuck, and there’s a long wait for tow trucks in some areas.
Brad Panovich, a meteorologist in Charlotte, notes that, just like in Atlanta last month, the bad traffic in North Carolina is being caused in part by everyone hitting the roads at the same time.
People went to work early Wednesday morning, but all left at the same time once the snow started falling between 9 and 11 a.m., causing gridlock on the snow-coated roads. Plows are having difficulty treating the roads because of the traffic.
What North Carolina should have done is told all non-emergency state and local workers to stay home and declared a state of emergency yesterday–and should made it clear to businesses that they shouldn’t open. There’s no shame in this: North Carolina, rightly so, simply doesn’t have the resources to handle this; it also lacks the transportation infrastructure (i.e., rail transit) that could really help here. What is de rigeur in Massachusetts is simply something the state isn’t able to cope with very well. North Carolina shouldn’t prepare for snowstorms the way Massachusetts does because they are very rare (and even in Massachusetts, heavy snow starting during the end of the rush hour would probably be cause for shutting many things down).
This is a failure of governance. Not only is it a lack of preparation (public and private–businesses should have told people not to come to work this morning), but, as a Virginia relative noted, there’s ideology at work here too: we don’t want to give those government workers (or private ones) a day off. Never mind that with plows unable to plow the roads and people abandoning their cars on said roads, it will take longer to get the state up and running again.
I just hope any readers aren’t stuck in this crap.