Atlanta + Snow

Atlanta is a disaster.  I don’t mean that to use that word in a specifically directed assault towards our leadership, our infrastructure, or the general state of affairs.  I mean it as a literal description of the major and minor thoroughfares getting people to and from their offices, schools, and any other location besides where they reside.

Atlanta traffic at 8:00PM last night

Yesterday at about 12:30, snow started falling in the metro area.  Almost in unison, the entire city left where-ever they were, got in their car, and got on the road.  Everyone.  Over five million people.  The horror stories on the roads are almost incomprehensible.  8+ hour commutes.  People parking their cars and walking miles to their final destination.  Kids stuck at school overnight.  I posted on Instagram that it took me five hours to get home.  At the time, I thought it was awful, but it pales in comparison to what the majority of commuters experienced.  Today I feel lucky.  I am home.  I saved my fiance’s sister in the city, then eventually went and saved my fiance from Peachtree St. in South Buckhead after dark.  My 4×4 and I did just fine.  We are all here, warm, doing great.  Making venison biscuits and gravy.

When a disaster like this happens, it is great to see the reaction of the people of our city.  After a few hours of personal frustration, it seemed that the mood changed to compassion as the sun went down.  Scrolling through the FaceSpace and watching the news – there are multiple stories the confirm the good that is the citizens of Atlanta.  I saw people pushing cars up hills.  I saw multiple stories about friends taking in complete strangers.  Home Depot, Target, Publix, and other businesses took in anyone that could fit to get them off the roads.  The SnowedOutAtlanta Facebook page that became a resource for connecting.  One story about a friend who took in stranded motorists and a busload of kids into her house is the ultimate show of goodwill.

Howell Mill Rd. about 7:30 this morning

How wonderful is it that in such a time of crisis, our people step up to the challenge.  It wasn’t government mandated, it was on their own.  Neighbors helping neighbors.  I know that those up north may look and snicker about how us Southerners can’t handle the snow…but this only happens once every couple of years.  We don’t have any practice.  Give us a break.  I’m never taking the ‘it’s just a dusting, we’ll be OK’ position ever again.  I believe that is the general sentiment from most fellow Atlantans.  Regardless, it’s nice knowing that if any of us experience any distress, help isn’t far away.



  1. BJH
    01/29/2014 / 12:41 PM

    Great post, Jay. I think if we all learned anything from yesterday it’s that Atlanta has some great people and that if there is even a prediction of a light dusting, no matter who laughs or shakes their head, I won’t be in the office.

  2. Cory
    01/29/2014 / 1:01 PM

    Nice post. People really are exceptional when the chips are down. My wife and I were even more fortunate yesterday: We both decided to work from home – and were able/allowed to do so.

  3. 01/29/2014 / 5:31 PM

    Great post RCS… Southern hospitality is one of our finest qualities here and it was nice to see it on display in such great gestures during the nasty weather yesterday. I will say, if your going to purchase an SUV, splurge for the 4×4… I saw more “SUV”s stuck on the side of the road yesterday. Its worth the extra money, even if you only need it once.

  4. Clay
    01/30/2014 / 12:17 PM

    It kinda pisses me off that the national media is making fun of Atlanta not being able to handle a measley 2″ of snow. It wasn’t the snow that was the issue – as you pointed out, it was 5 million people hitting the road all at one time, a forecast that didn’t include Atlanta in the danger zone until the day before, and ICE on the roads. Two inches of snow would not have caused the problems we had if we had the infrastructure of Chicago to remove the snow and prepare the millions of miles of roads in the city.

    I was one of the lucky ones. I left my office at 12:30 and got 22 miles in an hour and a half taking mostly backroads vs. the interstate.

    There certainly were some great stories of people coming together during the crisis. There were also some horrible stories of people trapped in their cars for 18+ hours. I hope the next time the forecast calls for a winter storm, at least the city should keep the kids from being trapped at school.

  5. MPR
    02/03/2014 / 10:32 PM


    You’re giving the northern cities too much credit. A few years back I lived in Boston and worked out a ways on the marathon route. Boston as I’m sure you all know is no stranger to big snows. One day we got a pretty routine snow storm and for whatever reason the whole area was entirely caught off guard (when I say a few years I’m talking 2007ish) it took me 6+ hours to go a shorter distance than the Boston marathon. Same stories about cars running out of gas, getting stuck, people getting stranded, 10 hour commutes etc.

    If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.

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