It seems like De Ja Vu for Atlanta,Georgia, in 2011 the city was shut down for a week. Now, less than five years later, the highways are in gridlock for almost 24 hours,, children are stranded in school, drivers sleeping in stores, cars pile up on the side of the road, and social media is a buzz about the lack of preparation by the Governor of Georgia and DOT. Winter Storm Leon brought Atlanta to a virtual standstill , as thousands of commuters clogged snowy roadways desperately trying to get home.
When a dusting of snow triggers an epic traffic jam, stranding motorists and school kids on interstates for hours, there’s something very wrong with this picture.
Two inches of snow isn’t supposed to turn highways into campsites. Backups aren’t supposed to last all day, through the night, and into the following morning.
And yet, here they we are — hundreds of motorists across Georgia — still hunched over in their cars Wednesday morning, feeling the aftereffects of a snow shower that hit the states more than 12 hours earlier (Fox 8 Cleveland)
The traffic delays were a shock to many – one WSB-TV anchor called the situation “bizarre” – because the city’s schools and government offices chose not to close early in advance of the storm.
After thousands of commuters flooded the highways at once, many Atlanta motorists spent hours stranded in their cars on the interstate and some even ditched their vehicles on the side of the road and walked.
At least 50 shelters have opened across the state to provide shelter for people stranded or gridlocked on the roads. Home Depot stores also announced that they are staying open Tuesday night to provide shelter for stranded motorists. 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. While sub groups for various parts of the city was created by Wednesday morning.
Some Facebook Posts from the group is dishearting ..
6:30 a.m. “Anyone near six flags parkway on I-20 have food or water? My 1 1/2 year old twins just woke up, and we will have to figure something out with that!”-April Burgess
Do NOT allow them to-Michelle Sollicito
With a high of only 36 degrees forecasted for Metro Atlanta today, abandoned vehicles and icy roadways will continue to snag travel Wednesday and make it difficult for stranded motorists to get home.
“I’m eight months pregnant and have my 3-year-old with me,” Atlanta-area resident Katie Norman Horne said on “SnowedOutAtlanta,” a Facebook page set up to help stranded motorists.
“We’ve been in the car for over 12 hours. We are fine on gas but is anyone near on the road and might happen to have any food or some water?
There have been 940 confirmed accidents in Atlanta, more than 100 of them involving injuries, the Georgia public safety commissioner said.
Everyone had been warned. Atlanta was expecting 1-2 inches. But people did not heed the forecast.
In the morning, when the snow had not arrived, people went to work and school, like nothing was coming.
Then it did….
Motorists panicked at around the same time in the afternoon. They clogged the streets en masse just as they began icing over.
In the end 2-3.5 inches hit central Georgia. That may not sound like much, but it’s usually how much snow falls in the region in a whole year, said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.
Motorists thought they could deal with it. They couldn’t. The spin-outs began. (Fox 8 Cleveland)