(CNN) — No one imagined a thin sheet of ice could wreak this much havoc.
Paralyzed by the glaze and gridlock, countless drivers in the Deep South spent the night shivering in their cars, unable to get home after more than half a day … and counting.
Here are some of their stories:
Stuck en route to a funeral
Tammy Jocelyn was on a journey she didn’t want to have to make — she was en route to a funeral when her Greyhound bus stopped cold on an Atlanta interstate Tuesday night. As of twelve hours later, Jocelyn and other passengers were still stuck on the bus.
“I really hope I make it up there in time,” the Jacksonville, Florida, woman told CNN Wednesday morning. “This isn’t something I’ve ever experienced.”
She’s not sure where she is, just that she was on I-75 heading north when traffic stopped moving at 10 p.m.
“There are hundreds, maybe thousands of motorists with me,” Jocelyn said. “You look out the window and see people in the middle of the interstate sleeping in their cars.”
The mood on the bus is calm, despite there being no food or water on board, she said. Jocelyn still has a long way to go; her final destination is Chicago.
“The weather is clear. That’s the worst part about it. The sun will melt the snow before anyone comes to save us.”
Desperation and kindness
In the 12 hours that Ashley McCants contended with the ice and traffic, her SUV careened into a ditch twice.
It took her five hours to pick up her son from school. They spent another seven hours in the car, trying to get to their Atlanta home several miles away.
The day dragged into night. Finally, the sight of a nine-car wreck sent her over the edge.
“At that very moment, I thought, you know what, I need help — I can’t do this anymore. I need to get home.”
So she vented her frustration on Facebook, and friends directed her to the page SnowedOutAtlanta. Within hours of the storm, more than 25,000 people joined the Facebook group to connect the stranded with those who might be able to provide shelter or supplies.
“I actually had a very nice, sweet family that took my son and I in,” McCants said.
But to get to that home, she had to carry her 5-year-old son about 2 miles across the snow and ice.
“My big takeaway is don’t give up. I sat in this traffic for 12 hours. It was all about faith and believing,” McCants said. “There are good people all over the city no matter what. There were so many people willing to help me and my son, and I feel so blessed to be taken in by this family, even though it was a brutal day.”