Living in the North means learning to deal with seasonal snow fall. It means practicing in an empty parking lot when the first few inches fall. Equipping snow tires and knowing just how quickly one can safely go when the white stuff starts falling is seemingly ingrained into the DNA of Yankee drivers. That, along with our fleets of snow plows and salt trucks, makes it easy to shake our heads and chuckle when our Southern friends get a dusting of powder that shuts down entire towns. What's happening south of the Mason-Dixon now, though, is not funny at all.

Snow, freezing rain and perilously low temperatures have embraced the southern US for the second time this year, and the results for motorists have been catastrophic, with traffic jams lasting over night. CNN reports on one woman, Rebekah Cole, whose nine-mile drive home started Tuesday afternoon and had run well into Wednesday morning. She was only half way there. Cole described the epic jam as something out of a "zombie movie."

CNN reports there have been 940 accidents in Atlanta, so far.

"We've been in the car for over 12 hours. We are fine on gas but is anyone near on the road and might happen to have any food or some water?" Katie Norman Horne posted on SnowedOutAtlanta, a Facebook page setup for stranded motorists. "I'm eight months pregnant and have my 3-year-old with me," Horne wrote. CNN reports there have been 940 accidents in Atlanta, so far.

Two to 3.5 inches of snow fell in the Atlanta area - a year's worth, according to a CNN meteorologist. Without the infrastructure to deal with it, one CNN editor who was on his way home said "The weather was a great equalizer. Didn't matter if you had a late model Mustang or a beater van or a Brinks armored car, your wheels were spinning fruitlessly on the ice and slipping."

Authorities are still encouraging citizens in Alabama and Georgia to stay off the roads, in the hopes that the massive jams will clear. "This is a very dangerous situation," Governor Robert Bentley told CNN. "People need to stay at home. They need to stay at home. They need to stay there until conditions improve."

Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed, had a similar message for citizens. "The next 24 horus, I really need folks to stay home. Go home, give us some time." Atlanta has since deployed 30 salt trucks, a mere fraction of the hundreds of trucks in the fleets of northern cities (for reference, Chicago has 287 plows in its fleet).

Forecasts, meanwhile, are improving. In Atlanta, the high today will be just 33 degrees, meaning the snow and ice aren't likely to go anywhere. Things should recover, though, and the Atlanta area should see temps in the low 50s by Friday and 60 by Sunday.


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  • 103 Comments
      David
      • 10 Months Ago
      I got caught in the back up from the bad accident last week on I94 in northern Indiana and then had to detour and drive 80/90 through the white out. I've been stuck in a hotel in Birmingham, AL since yesterday afternoon. I'm ready for winter to end!
        imoore
        • 10 Months Ago
        @David
        My niece and her family were stuck at the children's daycare center in northeast Birmingham since noon Tuesday, and they expect to go home today. My other niece was trapped in Center Point while on her way home, and was taken in by a friend. And my brother-in-law parked his car three miles away from his home in Tarrant and was going to walk home when a stranger in a 4-wheel drive pickup stopped to carry him home. Birmingham was and is still a mess because of the snow, but Southern Hospitality still reigns in troubled times. I hope your hotel staff treated you nicely while you were there.
      ray5240
      • 10 Months Ago
      I was in this mess, not fun. In my 2002 Corvette Z06 (my only car, talk about ill equipped for snow) of all things... I can't really explain what happened except that at least the weather reports I heard seemed like no serious weather, and no risk, so everyone was out on their normal work and school day before the weather hit, instead of your normal overnight/early morning expected snow that stops people from going in... That and the snow hit the ground, immediately somehow melted and then just as quickly froze into an ice sheet. Nightmare for me in the Vette. I made it about 3-4 miles from my office after hours in complete gridlock, slipping and sliding my way up even the lightest inclines before I gave up and parked it (in an Andretti's cart racing parking lot incidentally) before I tore something up or got stuck on a hill, and walked to a relative's apt. a mile or two further on. Managed to get the car and make it home today after another 3+ hour slog. To top it all off I could have easily just worked from home, and now will if there is even a 10% chance of flurries in the forecast. Jeez.
        Dixon Ticonderoga
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ray5240
        A co-worker of mine took eight hours to get from Alpharetta to Roswell. It's the craziest thing I've ever seen.
      Ben Dover
      • 10 Months Ago
      So yeah, Global Warming? Nope.
        Bernard
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Ben Dover
        Global climate change is far more complicated than one weather event. You have to look at centuries worth of weather data to even have a meaningful picture.
          no1bondfan
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Bernard
          That's not what the leggy blonde on Fox News told him, so that's not what he is going to believe.
      mikenogo
      • 10 Months Ago
      Now you know a bit of taste of what its like being in canada, with the exception of having a a week long freezing rain and -30 c with -40 windchill for most of the winter. Toughen up southerners.
        Jake
        • 10 Months Ago
        @mikenogo
        So, should a Southern city gear up and build the infrastructure and buy the equipment to endure a Canadian winter when this equipment and infrastructure would sit unused 99.5% of the time? I wonder, does Toronto have the kind of hurricane preparedness plans and infrastructure in place to take a cat 5? Why not? Toughen up, Northerners.
        EXP Jawa
        • 10 Months Ago
        @mikenogo
        I don't think its a matter of being tough, its a matter of being prepared. They just aren't equipped for it, since they traditionally don't need to be. If I were a tax payer down in Atlanta, I'd probably be upset if they bought 300 plow trucks that will mostly sit unused. The flip side to that is that when a freak storm hits, they're screwed...
        FutureDoc
        • 10 Months Ago
        @mikenogo
        We giggle when you call 90 degrees "hot"
          jonnybimmer
          • 10 Months Ago
          @FutureDoc
          Having grown up in high deserts; 120+F in the summer and snow in the winter, best of both worlds! But I can't handle humidity very well, so I'd be one of those wussies who'd "have" to have AC in the South. Just because you are accustomed to a certain climate doesn't mean others ought to be. I doubt many people outside the South would be prepared for hurricanes and tornados.
      The Wasp
      • 10 Months Ago
      "Equipping snow tires [...] is seemingly ingrained into the DNA of Yankee drivers." Uh...what? You don't need snow tires to drive in the snow, you just have to know what you're doing.
        S.
        • 10 Months Ago
        @The Wasp
        Doesn't matter if you do or don't know what you're doing...physics is physics and snow tires increase available traction over any other style tire.
          The Wasp
          • 10 Months Ago
          @S.
          If you don't know what you're doing, you'll run off the road just as quickly with snow tires as without. (Ok, maybe a few degrees farther along the corner and into a different tree/parked car/etc.) Physics is, indeed, physics, but driving well and successfully is 100% dependent on the driver and less dependent on physics.
      m_2012
      • 10 Months Ago
      Modern cars with stability and traction control with modern tires. What would these people do with 70's cars and tires with no aides. People have definitely forgotten how to drive.
        J W
        • 10 Months Ago
        @m_2012
        They likely wouldn't make it out of their driveway or a parking lots, leaving the roads clean and clear:)
        drew
        • 10 Months Ago
        @m_2012
        Many of these people have probably never driven in significant snow before.
      Keith Crook
      • 10 Months Ago
      Up here in Wisconsin we drive are cars and trucks as we bought them, no special tires, chains. We just go slow and steady, you can't drive like it is summer out.
        tump
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Keith Crook
        And you probably have plows and salt but everybody likes to pretend the south shouldn't have a problem here.
      Sir Duke
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is their new reality, these clowns had better learn to drive in the snow, and soon. Back around 2005 - 2007, I was talking to a co-worker in Dallas, she was so thrilled that it snowed. Her kids 10 & 12 were seeing snow for the first time in their lives. They have has numerous snowfalls since then, its called climate change. It now snow in places where it "normally" didn't, and not so much in places where it "normally" did.
        kqr
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Sir Duke
        Hmmm. You're using anecdotal stories from less than a decade ago to make sweeping proclamations about the future? Sounds like you've really bought into the fallacies and hype. Since you seem to place a lot of importance on anecdotal "evidence" and to demonstrate while it's useless to do so, I lived in the DFW area in the early '80s and it snowed a few times times during that period. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to accumulate for a short period, and at least once ('82?) it was deep enough to have snowball fights. You're trying to make it sound like it never snowed there before 2005. Of course the climate changes. Always has, always will. Some years are warmer, some years are colder, some are drier, some are wetter. The Earth has been everything from no ice anywhere, even at the poles, to glaciers all the way to the equator, and everything in between. Anyone who predicts either global warming OR cooling will be correct if you wait long enough.
      in2dwww
      • 10 Months Ago
      The best part is the irony, since The Weather Channel is based in Atlanta!
      MPLS612
      • 10 Months Ago
      Being from Mpls, MN. This makes me laugh.
        Jake
        • 10 Months Ago
        @MPLS612
        Being from Texas, I don't laugh in the summer when it is unusually hot up North and the elderly who don't have air conditioning suffer from heat stress or stroke.
          MPLS612
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Jake
          Really? I'm not laughing at people suffering. Jesus. I'm laughing because I come from a state that 2 feet of snow is a normal morning drive in the winter. I get that it is not the case in the south. People being hurt or as you put "suffering" is not funny. But I can laugh at the fact that so much chaos is happening because of something that is very normal for mid westerns.
          Jake
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Jake
          We don't get snow. We get sleet and freezing rain in extreme conditions. I can drive on snow all day long, I used to live in a place that got snow too. Ice is a different story. We don't have salt trucks. Here is what happens: A front moves in with cold weather and we get a mix of rain and sleet. It melts on the warm roads. The cold air moves in and refreezes it and makes it difficult to see. If it were just snow on a road, this would be a different story. I have driven on both and I stay off of the ice.
        MPLS612
        • 10 Months Ago
        @MPLS612
        But anyone that was hurt from any type of accident, does not make me laugh.
        Ryan Andrew Martin
        • 10 Months Ago
        @MPLS612
        I'm from Atlanta and this also makes me laugh because this is about as bad as it gets. Never any negative temperatures or several feet of snow to deal with. Hell, it's really only even "cold" three or four months out of the year. Totally loling at those that choose to deal with that garbage.
        drew
        • 10 Months Ago
        @MPLS612
        Wintery weather in a place that does not typically experience wintery weather is no joke.
          The Wasp
          • 10 Months Ago
          @drew
          Not everything that's funny is a joke.
      Eggmania
      • 10 Months Ago
      cmon man the worst was 6 inches and some ice. this was the result of idiot city officials who didnt cancel school and then closed the entire city and sent everyone home at the same time.
      Ducman69
      • 10 Months Ago
      Never go full retard Atlanta. The academy frowns upon that.
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