Run-of-millsnowstormdoes this?

C’mon. Two inches of snow should not shut down a major urban area for days, leaving thousands of motorists stranded in their cars overnight, thousands of students stuck in schools, unable to get home, and millions of people around the country watching on TV, agog at how helpless the Atlanta region is.

So yeah, people got angry and frustrated, and they directed a lot of those emotions at our political leadership. Some of that was deserved and even necessary, because without that anger, change can’t occur. But as we vent, we should probably acknowledge that most of the region — parents, employers, commuters, school officials, you, me — were also caught napping by this.

It’s also true that by now, all of us should know better. We think of ourselves as a Southern city, but we’re also in the foothills of the Appalachians. Until the Colorado Rockies were created, Atlanta had the highest-altitude stadium in major league baseball at more than 1,000 feet. We average more than two inches of snow a year, twice what Macon averages and four times what Columbus and Savannah get. And that doesn’t even count freezing rain.

So what happened this week is not some bizarre event. These things keep happening over and over again, and when they do we have a tendency to enter the disaster in our regional lore — ‘73, ‘82, ‘83 ‘93, 2000, 2011 and now 2014 — and move on, ready to act surprised when the next one hits.

With all that said, the people whom we pay to be prepared were not prepared. Early in the crisis, Gov. Nathan Deal essentially conceded that point when he tried, incorrectly, to shift blame for the lack of preparation to forecasters for the National Weather Service. Later, and to his credit, he took full responsibility for not acting sooner to minimize the storm’s impact. It was going to be bad, but it didn’t have to be this bad.

Network engineers use a term, “resilience,” that might be useful in discussing how we respond to this mess. Resilience is the ability of a network to keep on functioning even under less than optimal conditions. In search of resilience, engineers build in redundancies, alternatives and excess capacity, and they identify potential weaknesses and protect against them.

The more reliant you are on a system — the more you depend upon it for survival — the more resilient that system better be. In the world of network engineering, the worst-case scenario is to be 100 percent reliant on a system that has zero percent resilience, and unfortunately, that’s a pretty good description of metro Atlanta’s maxed-out transportation system.

We are a sprawling, hilly metro area with Southern drivers, long commutes, heavy truck traffic, a jumble of cities with no regional governance, a severely stunted mass transit system and a highly stressed road and highway network that is barely adequate under optimal conditions. Given all that, even a little storm has the potential to become a perfect storm.

And I don’t see any of that changing. To the contrary, in the past few years, we’ve cut some 1,600 positions — more than a quarter of its workforce — from the state Department of Transportation, and we still pretend we can compete as a transportation center while our per-capita investment in transportation ranks 49th in the nation.

You don’t have to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows.