A wintery mix of ice and snow wreaked havoc on roads in the Deep South.
Atlanta saw 2 to 3 inches of the white stuff, unusual feat for the city, USA Today reported. The rare weather turned out to be more of a nuisance than a winter wonderland as it paralyzed the city with bumper to bumper traffic.
"Nine hours in traffic and barely halfway home from the office," reported Mariano Castillo, an editor at the Atlanta CNN headquarters. "Some stretches of highway looked like a vehicle graveyard, abandoned cars and stranded big rigs at irregular intervals."
He and other drivers spent the majority of the day and part of the night in their vehicles unable to move on account of the congestion.
"You look out the window and see people in the middle of the interstate sleeping in their cars," Greyhound bus passenger Tammy Jocelyn told CNN after being stuck on an Atlanta interstate for 12 hours.
Even the simple task of picking children up from school became a perpetual excursion. In fact, many students were forced to endure every child's worst nightmare: spending the night at school.
DeKalb County School superintendent Michael Thurmond told The Associated Press 972 student made it home by Tuesday evening but that a handful of students still remained at school because their parents were still stuck in traffic.
"We are in the front office playing bingo and eating snacks," Williams said. He also reported that at least 40 school employees had stayed at school to avoid the treacherous weather and the severe traffic that emanated from the snow.
Conditions on the road were so severe that the Georgia National Guard was incited to rescue individuals from vehicles stuck in traffic on interstates and streets around the state, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told reporters at an emergency news conference held Tuesday night. He also asked residents to avoid driving.
"I know many people are trying desperately to pick up their children or simply to get home, and I hope they can get to safe, warm stopping point soon," Deal said. "Once at your destination, if at all possible, please stay off the roads until conditions improve."
More than 1,200 flights were canceled from Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport Tuesday, with another 250 cancelations Wednesday morning, USA Today reported.
Many are upset over the lack of foresight on the city's
part, the Associated Press reports. The AP indicated that some people
expressed outrage that schools and facilities weren't closed a head of
time. But officials pointed out weather forecasts, which only predicted a
light dusting of snow.