10 of the craziest stories from ATL Snow Jam 2014

January 29, 2014

 We pause our regular scheduled programming to ask for your prayers for the south who can’t seem to get themselves out of this horrible mess. Just a few of the crazy stories emerging from this great city that I love so dearly (despite its inability to cope with cold weather)…



1. First problem. Every highway in Atlanta shuts down in gridlock as black ice causes accidents and pileups. Many highways are still in this same situation.


2. Stories of diabetics, newborns babies (with their moms), and elderly being trapped for hours start to spread on social media. A facebook group is created where people started to come to the rescue to those in need by providing food, water, blankets, gas, and shelter. I guess social media can be a good thing after all;) Hope in humanity restored.

3. Home Depot, Target, and Whole Foods leave stores open city wide to house those stuck in the snow jam overnight.

(image source)

4. Hundreds of teachers and students stranded over night at local GA schools. Some children as young as 5 years old who had never stayed away from home before.

5. Buses are sent out to help hundreds of stranded motorists and deliver them to local shelters.


6. Woman in Sandy Springs, GA delivers her baby girl on I-285 with the help of her husband and local police officer. Luckily, an ambulance arrived shortly after to take her to a local hospital.

7. The later it gets the more cars are abandoned as people attempt to walk,(and in a friend’s case crawl), and drudge miles home in hopes of avoiding the night in their car.

8. What started as a daily commute for many turned into a snowpile nightmare of car crashes now totaling 940 with one death and 104 injuries. As the news even tried to communicate the severity of the situation. “Don’t get on Johnson Ferry. Seriously. Don’t.”

9. Atlanta becomes the opening scene of The Walking Dead. Our good friend and neighbor had an experience straight out of the opening scene of The Walking Dead (I am sure many of you Atlantans did!), as he had to search for his wife and two sons who were stuck out in the snow jam. Her phone had died and she had a nursing baby with her. As he starts driving on the opposite side of the empty highway to look for her, the city is eerily quiet and no one is moving. Abandoned cars everywhere. He found her going in 4-wheel drive up the grassy side around the gridlock. This tough chic comes from the midwest where these situations are commonplace. 8 hours total before they all arrived home. Some individuals are going on 18 hours+..


10. Least significant, but worthy of note…Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves rescues old team mate Freddie Freeman on his four wheeler. What? Smart move.

I am kind of in shock. I grew up in Ohio so really have never seen anything like this. I know you northern friends may be in awe, but this is unfortunately as real as it gets! My heart breaks for the parents who cannot get to their children. There are still so many stuck in this horrible snow jam and could use a prayer or two! Wish I had a serious four wheeler of my own right now to go out and offer transportation. You think they would have a fleet on back up for situations like this!

Atlanta. We love you, but you show your better side in the spring.


Leave a Comment

  • This is SUCH a crazy time that I think could have been avoided. I am praying for those who have not yet made it home yet, including one of my neighbors who has been trying to get home since noon yesterday. I am really, really hoping the city learns from this… I am glad that you are home safe with your family!

  • steph nelsen

    holy cow. praying for atlanta!

  • Wow, Anna! Those are unbelievable stories! I grew up in Alabama, but I’m in Ohio now, so I’ve seen both worlds like you. It got down to -19 in central Ohio last night, but that kind of cold never incapacitates people here like it does in the south. I’ll be praying!

  • Omigoodness, I cannot wrap my head around this. Being from Canada this seems absolutely bizarre. I understand you’re not prepared for this but…really?!

  • So strange and so awful! I still don’t completely understand how this all happened (how can traffic just stop for THAT long?!) but I guess here in the PNW we don’t handle our snow and ice that well either. 🙂 Do you know if a big part of the problem is that Atlanta doesn’t have snow plows or de-icers?

    • I live about an hour out of Atlanta, and I can definitely say that a lack of equipment played a part in this. We almost never get snow (maybe an inch a year if we’re lucky), so we don’t have many salt/gravel/sand trucks because we just don’t have that much use for them. Another part of this is that Atlanta has horrendous traffic anyway; trying to get into or out of the city when there are sporting events or an accident can lead to you sitting in your car for hours to only travel a few miles. When you mix in what has now become a blanket of ice instead of snow, there was no chance.

      The whole thing was just a series of bad events/conditions that came together to create absolute pandemonium. We (Georgians) don’t get snow so most people aren’t prepared to drive in it, we also have few resources to combat it for that same reason, everyone got out of work/school at the same to time to avoid this but it wasn’t early enough, and when you throw in all the accidents that have blocked our few major highways, it’s just a plain hot mess.

      • Oh, wow. Thank you for taking the time to explain that to me. I have never been to Georgia and don’t know much about it so this is all news to me. It makes much more sense now. 🙂

        Like I said, here in the PNW (I live about an hour north of Portland) we don’t get a lot of snow either and people aren’t knowledgeable about driving in it but we do have de-icers, snow plows, and for the most part the roads are taken care of pretty well in snow/ice…. mostly. That’s unfortunate that the pandemonium in your state could of been avoided! 🙁 I hope things get cleared up soon.

        • Roads in the south are textured differently as well, they are made to deal with our heat. Unfortunately they ice differently from northern roads so on the very, very rare event of snow and ice like we got yesterday things get very bad very fast.

      • Katelyn you are exactly right! It was one bad decision leading to one poor situation after another! 🙁

  • At first when the snow started, my class and I jumped for joy! Our school dismissed early, but it took me over an hour to go 5 miles. Once I got home, I went out and took photos of the snow and took a walk. When I finally logged into FB, I was in shock over the stories! It breaks my heart about the little children having to sleep at school. Like you, I’m praying for everyone who is still stranded.

  • Oh yes. Awful. Just awful. I grew up in Atlanta…now reside on Saint Simons Island…and gridlock is real. Praying for all those people who are stuck and missing their loved ones! Can only imagine how awful it must be not to be able to get to your little ones!

  • It was crazy yesterday!!! It took my mom 3.5 hours to get home. Then it took my dad almost 7. Thankfully everyone in my family was able to get home safely.


  • We live in Roswell and it took me 3 hours to go 6 miles from my son’s school to our home. My husband works in Smyrna, and after 8 hours on the road, decided to leave his car on the interstate. His phone was dead and he had no way to reach me so he ran the last 1.5 miles, through mostly woods to get home. There were literally hundreds of people, trying to walk home in freezing temperatures to get to their families. Craziest thing I have ever seen!

  • I was following along with some of this yesterday and like, this whole thing just blows my mind. Maybe it shouldn’t because even here in Kentucky they seem to drop the ball now and then on properly treating the roads. But I just can’t fathom how this could have happened in a big city like Atlanta. Praying it all gets sorted out quickly and that the city can get a plan in place to keep this kinda thing from happening again, at least to this degree!

  • I am flabergasted. I get that the DOT doesnt have salt and what not, but that many accidents, that much traffic, for that little snow? It just amazes me. If’ you have never dirven in it heres and idea, be cautious!!

  • My parents live in Roswell and were stuck about 10 minutes away from their house from 2 yesterday afternoon until just after 7 this morning! They said finally the national guard came by and found them. They said people just abandoned their cars and they ended up being block in, unable to move. They are both nearly 70 and walking in the ice and snow was not an option for them. When they called 911 they were told unless there was an emergency they would not be sending anyone out. Atlanta for the weather win again this year!

  • We have family friends coming in town from Atlanta this weekend – they had to leave their car and walk home 4 miles in the snow yesterday. They were supposed to arrive tomorrow and it’s been pushed back to Friday. Hoping they can make it – and that Atlanta gets back to normal soon! Stay warm, friend.

    • Kelly what is crazy is that it will be back to 60 degrees this weekend! Such a nightmare. I am sure TX has experienced similar when cold comes knocking. Hope your friends arrive!

  • kassi swanson

    chattanooga got it bad to. took my husband 5 hours to get home from a usual 20 min drive fom work. there were over 200 cars pilled up in the grocery store next to me where people abanded there cars bc they couldnt drive it was so bad. my friend delivered her baby at home because the ambulance took 2 hours to get to her and then had to walk a half mile because they couldnt get the ambulance up her hill. this all was in chattanooga, tn. i live in east brainerd which is in chattanooga. we got the worst here then the rest of chatt. but all of chatt got it bad. alot this could have been prevented. the weather man said it WASNT gonna snow here!! poor atlanta!! ga got it real bad!!

    • WHAT?! That is unreal Kassi! I hope her delivery was okay! Bless her heart! Hopefully the cities will be better prepared next time for pete’s sake!

  • Pat schwab

    I grew up and have lived in Ohio my whole life. My sister moved to South Carolina years ago and they had snow and everyone was panicking and she was so surprised because it really wasn’t bad compared to a lot of the winters we had in Ohio. I imagine it is bad when you are not used to these conditions but icy roads are the worse! I wish everyone out there could have made it home safe. I love hearing about all the good people willing to help in crisis situations. Pat S

  • Thought of you and your family the last couple of days! We use to live there and can imagine the mayhem. We have friends that were stranded but are now safely home.

    All the best to ATL as it recovers! Stay warm!

    • Thank you sweet friend! Pretty grateful we live north of the city and out of the congested madness that occurred. So happy southerners really showed their true hospitality and goodness towards all those in harms way.

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