Students, motorists remain stranded in Atlanta, Cobb County
by Sarah Fay Campbell
As Tuesday turned into Wednesday, hundreds if not thousands of motorists remained stranded on metro-Atlanta highways, still trying to get home, after hours on the road, according to news reports.
Students were stranded at some schools in the metro-Atlanta area. Late Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal announced he was sending Georgia State Troopers to schools where students and teachers were spending the night.
At 10:30, Atlanta Public Schools issued a statement that students were still being transported on buses, and that an “emergency shelter in place” was called for all students and staff who remained in the schools, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
Students were also stranded at Cobb County and Marietta City Schools, according to the “Atlanta Journal Constitution."
Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Deal declared a state of emergency. The emergency declaration activated the State Emergency Operations Plan, and opens up state resources necessary for government response, according to the governor’s office. Late Tuesday, during a press conference, Deal said that members of the Georgia National Guard were being deployed to assist “fragile” stranded motorists. He called the storm’s impact on Atlanta “unexpected.”
Deal said that part of the problem on the Atlanta roadways was that so many motorists hit the roads as the same time.
As of 12:20 a.m., the new Facebook group “Snowed Out Atlanta” had over 18,000 members, and people were posting requests for help for their loved ones still on the roads.
Churches, community centers, and many Home Depot stores and other businesses around the Atlanta area were opening to provide shelter for those who couldn't make it home, according to reports on the Snowed Out Atlanta group. Hundreds have abandoned their vehicles, according to news reports.
Some individuals were offering shelter as well as rescues on Facebook.
Some areas in Coweta remained impassable, including Ga. Hwy. 16 East at the Coweta/Spalding county line, the roundabout at East Broad/Lower Fayetteville roads, Raymond Hill Road and Canongate Road. Jefferson Street was closed at Oak Hill Cemetery.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were icing issues on Ga. Hwy’s. 16, 154, 54 and 34. Crews had treated those areas, but there were still hazardous conditions on Hwy. 154 near Crescent Drive, Hwy. 16 West at the Chattahoochee River bridge, Hwy. 16 East at Rockaway Road and Hwy. 34 West near Thigpen Road.
GDOT crews, as well as city of Newnan and Coweta County crews, were expected to work through the night treating roads.
Officials are urging everyone to stay off the roads on Wednesday.