Apparently the highways around Atlanta are one vast parking lot...this is really sad...They didn't have enough salt trucks?
ATLANTA -- The Georgia National Guard was out in force Wednesday to
rescue motorists trapped all night in their cars on Atlanta's icebound
freeways from a harsh winter storm that forced many drivers to abandon
their cars outright and left children to camp out in their schools.
Some commuters pleaded for help via cellphones while still holed up in their cars, while others gave up and trudged miles home.
around the nation's ninth largest metropolitan area were littered with
abandoned cars as commuters bailed out, some seeking warmth at shelter
at 17 Home Depot that opened their doors to take in wayward motorists.
in suburban Atlanta say one of their own helped assist the safe
delivery of a baby girl on a gridlocked interstate Tuesday afternoon
after snow and ice brought traffic to a crawl.
Sandy Springs Police Capt. Steve Rose told The Associated Press the baby
girl was safely delivered around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday amid gridlocked
traffic on Interstate 285. A traffic officer arrived with only minutes
to spare before the infant arrived.
"Fortunately he had his emergency lights on and people got out of his way," Rose said. "The delivery was pretty flawless."
500 students in Paulding County were stuck at elementary, middle and
high schools, and about 1,300 were sheltering in place in Douglas
county. Students were also trapped overnight in Marietta, Cherokee and
At Atlanta's East River Elementary School, about
100 students spent the night on mats on the floor, covered with coats
and blankets. The children got caught out when school buses were unable
to pick them up.
Some relieved parents, who spent the night
trying to reach their children's schools, had begun picking up their
"This has been an ordeal for everyone," said
Georgia DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale. "This storm and the bitter
temperatures have caused so much difficulty, discomfort and anxiety for
so many Georgians. We believe roadways will be restored to some level of
normalcy today but would encourage the public to remain home,
preferably all day."
Only about two-to-three inches of snow fell
in Atlanta on Tuesday, but it was enough to ground hundreds of flights
at Hartsfield International Airport — the U.S.'s busiest -- and paralyze
the metropolitan area.
Debbie Hartwig, a waitress at an Atlanta
area waffle house, said she managed to keep her cool thanks in part to
the kindness of strangers after 10 hours on the road.
she said. "That's all you can be. People are helping each other out,
people are moving cars that have spun out or had become disabled. It's
been really nice. I even saw people passing out hot coffee and granola
"This was, hands down, the worst day of my life," Evan McLean of Canton, who told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he "was literally stranded on Canton road for two and half hours without moving an inch."
Cobb County chairman Tim Lee was among drivers stuck on I-75 in his truck north of the Chattahoochee River.
He said residents were calling him to request salt trucks, but he saw a silver lining in the lengthy gridlock.
good news is that traffic is so jammed up they can't get going too
fast, so there's a lot fender benders but there's no injuries," he told The Marietta Daily Journal.
traveler who had arrived Tuesday afternoon at Atlanta's airport from
Maine spent five hours in traffic without moving when an WXIA reporter
caught up with him.
He offered some Back East advice to Georgia's highway maintenance teams.
should put some salt on the road," he said. "When it's going to be wet
and cold, get the salt trucks on the road. It's not hard."
Gov. Nathan Deal, who dispatched guard troops in Humvees to clear the
freeways, said Tuesday's storm "came unexpectedly."
meteorologists to blame for the traffic debacle, or a poor forecast? No,
says Marshall Shepherd a meteorologist with the University of Georgia
and current president of the American Meteorological Society.
"The buses had a tough time getting kids home, but meteorologists should not be thrown under the bus," he said.
Deal, like the governors of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina, declared a state of emergency.
the storm that gripped much of the Deep South has moved into the
Atlantic, there is little chance of significant melting of untreated
roads and bridges Wednesday, according to Weather Channel meteorologist
Highs may struggle to reach the freezing mark in
cities such as Atlanta and Charleston, S.C., he said.. Areas near the
Gulf Coast such as Mobile and Pensacola may not rise much above
freezing, even if a few rays of sunshine peek through the clouds later
in the day.