The sky is falling

Georgia’s Snowpocalypse parts 1 and 2

Senior+Kathryn+Craven+%28center%29%2C+junior+Kimberly+Peek+%28left%29+and+sophomore+Kathleen+Hudson+%28right%29+enjoy+the+snow.+

Evan Long

Senior Kathryn Craven (center), junior Kimberly Peek (left) and sophomore Kathleen Hudson (right) enjoy the snow.

Sania Chandrani and Amy Pan

Chicken Little’s forecast may have been right. Twice. On Tuesday, January 28, Georgia experienced its first substantial snowfall since the infamous blizzard four years ago. The peculiarity only continued with another winter storm exactly two weeks later on Tuesday, February 10.

Understandably, Parkview’s atmosphere was abuzz with excitement the first go-around. Students rushed outside as soon as the flurries began to fall in fifth period. The second half of the day was a time for selfies with snowflakes and staring at the sky.

Upon seeing the snow that day, Senior Kenny Le said, “I love the energy that pulsates from school when something exciting like this happens weather-wise.” Parkview definitely pulsated, and as soon as the bell rang, students exploded from the school, and the snowball fights began.

By seventh period, cars were coated with snow, but it was not sticking to the ground. The winter wonderland had been a long time coming after the fake “snow day” due to below-freezing temperatures a few weeks earlier. Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter were in a frenzy with photos of the snow and screams of thrilled teenagers playing in it.

This marked one of the first times that it had snowed rapidly during school. Skeptics claimed that it would not stick and classes would be in session the next morning. To the delight (and in rare cases, dismay) of students, the ice began to freeze in place that evening, and school was canceled for the next two days.

Junior Helen Pearson, who spent her mid-week “weekend” walking her dog, sledding and eating large amounts of food, said, “I was really happy because snow doesn’t happen often.” She then added, “It was pretty at first, but then it was annoying because you couldn’t go anywhere.”

In fact, because Georgians had never encountered such inclement weather in the middle of a workday, the majority of the metro-Atlanta area was paralyzed by the icy roads. Traffic lines grew endless due to the city shutting down and everyone leaving at once on Tuesday. Many students across Georgia were stuck in their schools, buses and cars as the authorities worked to cope with the emergency situation.

While most Parkview students got home right away, a number of teachers were stranded in their cars on the frozen roads. Mr. Bjorn Thornton, Ms. Shaye Thornton and Coach Judson Hamby were among those blocked by the weather.
After nine hours of waiting in his car, Coach Hamby had to walk six miles in the snow to reach a friend’s house in Roswell for the night.

“I was running out of gas and decided to park my car in a random parking lot. I started walking up Jimmy Carter for about eight miles before getting to my friend’s house at around 2:30 or 3:00 AM,” Hamby said. “I did not have anything to eat or drink, so I was eating snow to hydrate; it felt like man vs. wild.”

Despite the chaos caused by the snow, Gwinnett County public schools were not canceled on the Friday following snowfall, and students were less than thrilled to come back to Parkview. To demonstrate their dissatisfaction, over 2,000 students signed a petition at whitehouse.gov advocating Gwinnett school closings.

Ironically, exactly two weeks later, Georgia was hit with a second “Snowpocalypse.” Gwinnett County proceeded to close school for four days as the roads began to ice over (again). This time, the situation was met with more caution; anxious customers cleared grocery store shelves and settled in for the week. Though this second winter storm was more severe than the first, Georgians had learned their lesson, and the majority of people remained at home and stayed safe.