In case you haven’t heard, a little Winter Storm named Leon came to “Hot-tlanta” yesterday. I have lived here all my life, yes a rare native, and while we have had bad storms this one turn our sunny southern city into Hothlanta faster than light speed.
When I went to bed on Monday night the forecast as I understood it for our area, called for a “dusting” of snow here in the ATL with accumulations expected south of the city – and that the snow would fall later in the day. Tuesday as I dropped off Mini Me at school, the principal told me, “We are not expecting anything to happen during school hours, but be prepared to come early for pickup, stay near the phone”. I got home and my friendly weather channel Facebook friend posted this – its awesome to have my own personal weather guru and Georgia Tech alum online:
My first thought, I better get to the gym to get my treadmill training run in for the Princess Half…..no really, so I went around 10:45. I was SO not feeling that run but glad I got it in. Decided to stop by Kroger for you know, some supplies – Wine and Beer mainly, we were good on Milk, Bread, Eggs and Toilet Paper. I was leaving around noon when I hear the Cobb County Schools were letting out. Still no word from our district, though around 1:55 I got the call and headed to pick up Mini Me.
The roads were covered in snow, not inches, but white. It had been below freezing so it was nice and cold too. If you have not been to Atlanta, its hilly…VERY hilly. I slid through a stop sign and my anti lock warning indicator came on several times. I almost didn’t make it into my garage with our hilly driveway, but was SO happy to be safe at home.
Mr RWFR called me to say “See the picture I sent you from my office of the highway, TOTAL Gridlock.” He was going to wait it out and if worse came to worse, he would just walk to the Marta train station, take the train to the stop closest to our house and walk home. As this Buzzfeed post pointed out today, Atlanta looked like a scene from Walking Dead Season 1.
It did NOT take long for the disaster to unfold. You can make fun of us southerners if you want to, when we get snow..it turns to ICE, um no traction on that stuff. It was below freezing and the roads were slick. Once they announced schools would get out early, people rushed out of their offices and jobs to get home..and YIKES. Twitter user @a23kiki23 put together this traffic timeline if you will….and yep, lots of folks left work around lunch time.
Mr RWFR ended up taking Marta and walking 2.1 miles in his dress shoes and wearing his beanie, sweater, hoodie and a black garbage bag – #stylin’. I was so happy he was home and our family was together and safe.
The city was a mess and I was a bit sad watching the News Conference today with our leaders. I know, they are tired and had VERY little sleep, but still. They were so defensive. Not to point fingers, but my trusty friend at The Weather Channel shared this timeline on her FB page – and I wonder didn’t they have this info? Halloween Traffic is CRAZY around here, surely they knew the snow was coming later and like Halloween things would be nuts. Maybe they need to friend someone who works at the Weather Channel too……
Sunday 3:12 p.m.
First winter storm watch issued for Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.
Includes south metro Atlanta counties Fayette, Coweta, Clayton, Henry, Rockdale into central Georgia.
Impacts: Snow accumulations of two or more inches. Sleet accumulations of a half inch or more.
Monday 4:54 a.m.
Winter storm watch now includes much of north and south metro Atlanta for Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.
Impacts: Snow accumulations of 1/2 to 2 inches. Snow-covered roads could make travel difficult.
Monday 3:22 p.m.
Winter storm watch upgraded to a winter storm warning for south metro Atlanta into central Georgia. Winter storm watch remains posted for north metro Atlanta for Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.
Impacts: Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches with locally higher amounts. Sleet accumulations around a half inch. Snow and ice covered roads will make travel difficult or impossible.
Monday 9:36 p.m.
Winter storm watch changed to a winter weather advisory for north metro Atlanta for Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning.
National weather service notes: Please understand that even a slight shift in the moisture could result in significant differences in snow amounts and may require an upgrade to warning.
Tuesday 3:38 a.m.
All metro Atlanta under a winter storm warning starting 9 a.m. Tuesday
Impacts: 1 to 2 inches of snow. Snow expected to begin mid-morning and last into Tuesday night. Snow-covered roads will make for hazardous driving conditions through Wednesday morning.
Back in 1982, yes I am older than dirt, we had pretty much the same thing happen…..”Snow-Jam” was its name. I survived Snow Jam too. Pretty much the EXACT same scenario, except the snow fell later around rush hour – so the school kids were home. I was working in the mall when my mom called me to say tell your supervisor you are clocking out I am coming to get you its getting bad out there. Not much later, she called back, the roads are icing up, GET ON THE MARTA BUS and walk home when you are off the bus. Our family loves Marta during Snow fests, Jams, Mageddons of any kind. THANK YOU MARTA. Once I got on the bus, I went about a mile and a half down a main thoroughfare….it took 2 hours and I got out and walked the rest. My dad got stranded by his office so ended up spending the night in the lobby of a hotel. From that point on, he always had blankets and warm clothes and change of clothes in his car’s trunk.
Of course today’s jam was much worse than Snow Jam, because the city has grown SO much in that time and you know what has NOT grown in proportion…. Highways out to the burbs and city streets to handle all the commuters. The suburbs have mushroomed and people commute from further out en mass than they did back in 1982 when much of the suburbs was horse farms and country houses. And public/mass transportation, Marta is struggling. It really has not expanded that much either, the suburbs do not seem to want Marta coming to them. To them I say, hey, saved our family in two of the worst snow jams this city has seen – rethink your objections.
But in the sad stories – kids spending the night on school buses or stranded at schools, people worried about loved ones getting home, 940 accidents……really it goes on…there were some amazing stories too.
Mini Me’s school had 22 kids who had to spend the night at school and 20 staff members. It appears that everyone was doing well and the staff was trying to keep things up beat and fun. Teachers really are the best. There was an outpouring of offers to help others. Grocery Stores welcomed in stranded motorists calling them guests and making breakfast. My favorite Zaxby’s stayed open and donated 222 sandwiches to a high school last night so the students and staff would have dinner. #INeedAZaladStat!
Need a boost – check out this post by Green Global Travel on the 20 Stores from the SnowedOutAtlanta that Restore our Faith in Humanity.
Hopefully it won’t be soon when we go through this again, but if I end up going through some other Snow – insert buzz word here, I hope I am inspired they way I was today with the good that still exists in humanity….amid all the chaos and snarkiness you can see on social media.
Were you affected by Winter Storm Leon?
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