ATLANTA (AP) — Students spent the night on buses or at schools, commuters abandoned their cars or idled in them all night and the highways-turned-parking lots iced over when a winter storm slammed the city, creating a treacherous traffic jam that lasted into Wednesday.
It wasn’t clear exactly how many people were still stranded out on the roads nearly 24 hours after the storm hit the Deep South on Tuesday, paralyzing the region. The timing of when things would clear was also uncertain because temperatures were not expected to be above freezing for very long to give the roads a chance to thaw.
Authorities were working to get food, water, gas and blankets to people still stranded in their cars and National Guard vehicles and police were to escort home the children who were still at schools.
The rare snowstorm deposited mere inches of snow, but overnight, the South saw fatal crashes and hundreds of fender-benders. Jackknifed 18-wheelers littered Interstate 65 in central Alabama. Ice shut down bridges on Florida’s panhandle and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, one of the world’s longest spans, in Louisiana. Some commuters pleaded for help via cellphones while still holed up in their cars, while others trudged miles home, abandoning their vehicles outright.