Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Day Atlanta Froze

There's a lot of jokes to be made about how us southerners handle snow. At the very mention of flurries on the news, we rush to the stores and buy all the bread and milk we can (or, in my case, Pepsi and diapers).

And if we see flurries, stop everything--schools get cancelled, businesses shut their doors, and we all don the warmest thing we can find in our closet to dance in the tiny white flakes.

The reason these jokes are funny is because they're true. We see snow so rarely that it is a REALLY big deal. So when the snow started to fall a little before noon yesterday, I was already holed up at home with enough food for a week, a big box of diapers and a stockpile of ways to keep Little Man occupied. By 3:00, there was enough snow on the ground to go outside and play--so that's just what we did.


Unfortunately, there's a flip side to all this--because Atlanta never sees snow and ice, our transportation department is woefully unprepared to deal with icky weather on the roads. At 2:00 yesterday, traffic was already a nightmare.

The news just kept getting worse and worse. The interstate system became a gridlock. Facebook and twitter exploded with posts about people who had been sitting in their cars at a standstill for hours. I have a friend who spent 5 hours in the car with his young children to travel the 5 miles between their school and home. Some runner friends of mine spent 11 hours in the car to go under 50 miles. As one friend summed it up, "My arms were so tense from driving, I felt like I'd been to CrossFit."

People began abandoning their cars on the road. Kids got stuck at their schools overnight. A baby was born on I-285 in the back of a car. When the sun started to set, local Home Depots and Publix stores opened their doors as shelters for stranded motorists.

It's been over 24 hours since the snow fell, and I am still hearing reports of people that HAVEN'T MADE IT HOME YET. Can you imagine? It is an absolutely terrifying thought.

I have to say, I've been impressed with how the residents of Atlanta have stepped up. There are good Samaritans walking up and down the interstates, handing out hot drinks and sandwiches to those who are still stuck.  Facebook pages have been set up to help motorists who couldn't get home find nearby people who were willing to open their homes to complete strangers for the night. I'm starting to hear that the interstates are moving, so hopefully everyone will be home and safe soon.

A Penny for your thoughts: have you ever been snowed in--or out?


  1. Wow! I haven't ever been snowed in or out. I worry about it way too much though. :-/

    1. Its a scary thought! It makes me want to stock up on stuff in my house and my car like a prepper...

  2. I grew up in we've been snowed in plenty of times. In February 2009 )I think) a ton of people had to abandon their cars in Chicago on Lake Shore Drive. I wasn't there for that, but it's so crazy and sad to me!

    1. It is so crazy. My husband lived in Chicago for awhile and he tells the same stories! I'm way to southern to do this more than once every 2 or 3 years.

  3. Wow crazy stories!! Stay safe and warm!