It’s cold here in Ann Arbor, but we more or less know how to deal with it. Not so in Atlanta, where slippery roads led to gridlock on the highways and midnight traffic jams.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
It was a day when a 10-mile commute could take you at least six hours. For those heading from downtown to the burbs, it was even worse. The interstates were a gridlocked mess long before the snow finished falling Tuesday. And side streets? Even worse. Some people ditched their vehicles and set out on foot. Others tried to help stranded strangers. And many persevered, moving a few inches an hour toward home.
Kroger, Walmart, and Home Depot have opened their stores as shelters, if you can get to them.
UPDATE: The Jeff Masters blog from Weather Underground has the situation in detail.
A dangerous winter storm swept through the Deep South on Tuesday, dumping 1 – 4″ of snow and 1/4″ – 1/2″ of ice on a region unused to dealing with severe winter weather. Travel chaos resulted in many cities, and at least nine people died in storm-related accidents. Officially, 2.6″ of snow fell at the Atlanta Airport from Winter Storm Leon, and snow amounts across the city ranged from 1.5″ – 3.5″. But with temperatures in the low 20s, and only 40 snow plows and 30 sand trucks to handle the snow, Atlanta streets and highways quickly turned into parking lots during the afternoon snow, as schools, businesses, and government offices all closed nearly simultaneously, sending a huge number of vehicles onto the roads. Atlanta experienced its worst traffic day of all-time, and thousands of motorists were forced to abandon their vehicles, with many spending the night sheltering in stores, stalled cars, or strangers’ homes. A Facebook group dubbed SnowedOutAtlanta, meant to connect stranded motorists with people willing to put them up for the night, had thousands of members by Tuesday night. Hundreds of children never made it home, and were forced to spend the night at their schools or at bus shelters. There were 940 confirmed traffic accidents in Atlanta, with more than 100 involving injuries, according to the Georgia public safety commissioner. It was Atlanta’s worst driving day since the infamous Snow Jam of 1982, when 6″ of snow also created traffic chaos, stranding thousands of motorists.