Southeast USA storms 2014 **Get a grip folks, winter in USA is COLD. It always has been. Its NOT colder than usual.
Southerners warned of icy mess in days ahead
28 Jan 2014 ATLANTA (AP) — Across the South, residents stocked up on fuel and groceries, schools and offices closed, and road crews were at the ready as a storm moved in Tuesday from the central U.S., threatening to bring snow, ice and subzero temperatures to a region more accustomed to air conditioners and sunscreen than parkas and shovels.
Even with the timing and severity of the blast of freezing precipitation uncertain, officials from parts of Texas to southeastern Virginia warned motorists to stay off the roads. Popular warm-weather tourist destinations — Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Pensacola, Fla.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and New Orleans — expected ice and snow over the next two days, rare occurrences in places that seldom even see prolonged sub-freezing temperatures.
At an Ace Hardware store in the north Georgia town of Cumming, snow shovels were in short supply, but manager Tom Maron said feed scoops - often used in barns - could be substituted. Workers expected brisk business, with patrons buying insulation, faucet covers, portable heaters and other cold-weather gear.
"We're fixing to put the ice melt out, and we've got plenty of sand here to mix in," Maron said shortly before dawn.
Much of Georgia was placed under a winter storm watch for Tuesday and Wednesday, with some areas forecast to see as much as 3 inches of snow. But Jason Deese with the National Weather Service said the snow totals would "matter very little in this situation because of the ice potential."
"Some parts of the state may end up seeing the greatest impact just because they get more ice than snow," he said.
In Mississippi, amid warnings about snow and ice, four people died when an early morning fire destroyed a mobile home in Itawamba County, near the Alabama border. Investigators believe a space heater was to blame. Sheriff Chris Dickinson said nine people were in the mobile home at the time, using the heater for warmth. Officials didn't identify the victims but said they ranged in age from 3 months to 30 years.
Snow began falling before dawn Tuesday in the extreme northwest portion of Alabama. In Montgomery, Bradley Thrift sat in a hotel parking lot letting his truck warm up before heading out with a crew to work on sewers.
"We've got a job to do. We'll just be out in it," said Thrift, wrapped up in a thick coat. "We'll be safe. When the boss man says that's it, it's too slippery, we'll just come back here and wait."
At a nearby Publix grocery story, shoppers had cleaned out three shelves of bottled water, and all the boxed fire logs were gone. The milk cabinet had big gaps where rows of gallon jugs were missing.
"We kept having to replenish the milk yesterday — people were buying it so quickly," worker Jeneen Gabson said.
In the Hampton Roads area of Virginia — which forecasters said could see a foot of snow — store shelves started emptying of staples such as bread by Monday night. Schools and businesses planned to close early, with the storm expected to further clog an already-busy afternoon commute.
In coastal Charleston, it was a balmy 62 degrees Monday. But the approaching weather led the College of Charleston to cancel classes Tuesday. There was a forecast of rain, and sleet in the late afternoon, with the first snow expected Wednesday morning.
Delta Air Lines officials said 1,850 flights have been canceled ahead of the storm. The airline is offering travelers the opportunity to make one-time changes to tickets without a fee if they're traveling through Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas and Texas.
Meanwhile, in the Midwest, plummeting temperatures and increasing winds took root for another day even as the storm moved south. Several states in the central U.S. saw schools and other facilities close for a second consecutive day as dangerous wind chills were predicted. In Minnesota, forecasters said wind chills could reach 35 to 50 degrees below zero.
In the Carolinas, many school districts were running on half-day schedules Tuesday so students could head home before the worst of the storm system hit. In North Carolina's Outer Banks, barrier islands that are popular with tourists during the warm seasons, residents were bracing for as much as 8 inches of snow.
Several inches also were expected in South Carolina, where the state department of transportation planned to send crews out Tuesday to treat roads with sand and brine to ease any troubles caused by ice.
In Louisiana, state Public Service Commission Chairman Eric Skrmetta told residents to be prepared by stocking up with food, fueling cars and making sure to have cash on hand, calling the icy forecast for the next couple of days "decidedly grim." State police said freezing rain was falling in the central part of the state early Tuesday, but most highways remained open. The heaviest snowfall was likely to be 1 to 3 inches just north of the Baton Rouge metro area
Donna Vidrine, a cashier at Simcoe Food World in Lafayette, said her store was already busy Monday.
"They're buying things like canned goods — nonperishable items — and bottles of water and diapers for their baby," she said.
Winter Storm Leon
Jan 29, 2014 Heavy snow, ice target Southeast USA
Snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain leads to school closures, treacherous travel and flight cancellations from Texas to the eastern Carolinas.
The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, declared states of emergency.
A rare winter storm brought freezing rain, snow and bitter cold to the Deep South on Tuesday, leaving hundreds of children stranded at schools in Alabama and Georgia and rescue crews scrambling to reach stranded motorists along ice-covered highways.
Across the Atlanta area, schools let out early and commuters left for home after lunch, instantly creating gridlock as highways surrounding the city that rarely see snow were converted into treacherous paths of ice.
Georgia sent state troopers to rescue students stranded at schools with their teachers, hours after schools were dismissed early. Many children were stuck in schools into early Wednesday.
Thousands of commuters spent 12 hours or more stuck in traffic.
Electrical grid danger, failure is planned
Rare winter storm paralyzes Atlanta, strands thousands of schoolchildren
A rare winter storm glazed the South with snow and ice and paralyzed the city of Atlanta, which was so choked with traffic that drivers abandoned their cars and trudged to churches and home-improvement stores to spend the night.
Schoolchildren were still stranded Wednesday morning across the region, including nearly a thousand in schools outside Birmingham, Ala., and 850 in Marietta, Ga., where buses started to take the kids home on Tuesday afternoon but had to turn back because of bad roads.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell said teachers stayed with stranded students throughout the night, giving them food and water and trying to keep them calm.
"We realize that is not good enough for parents who want to hold their children in their arms,'' Bell told Reuters. "We are doing all we can to reunite children with their parents.''
The storm dumped less snow than expected in many places. Columbia, S.C., got an inch and a half, and Atlanta 2½ inches. Virginia Beach, Va., which was expecting as much as a foot, reported 7 inches. But the snow and ice slickened a part of the country unaccustomed to winter weather of any kind.
In Atlanta, two children spent the night on a bus and were still trapped inside at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday — 18 hours after the snow started to fall.
Traffic maps of the city looked like an illustration of the human heart, red arteries in all directions. Gov. Nathan Deal sent military Humvees on to the clogeed freeways to deliver food and water and help stranded school buses.
“We know you want to get home, and we are going to work all day until you can return safely,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said early Wednesday on Twitter.
Some drivers reported that they were stuck for 10 hours or more, and at least one baby was born during the gridlock — a little girl who was delivered by her father and a police officer on Interstate 285. Paramedics got the family to a hospital.
"I pulled over to check on them, And I asked the dad, 'Are y'all broke down?'" Officer Tim Sheffield told the TODAY show. "He goes, 'No, we're having a baby.'"
The Home Depot said it kept 14 Atlanta-area stores open overnight to provide shelter for stranded drivers.
“People are helping each other out. People are moving cars that have spun out or had become disabled,” Debbie Hartwig, a waitress at an Atlanta-area Waffle House, told The Associated Press. “It’s been really nice. I even saw people passing out hot coffee and granola bars.”
Most of the storm’s worst had passed by Wednesday morning, but a winter storm warning was still in effect from the Florida Panhandle to Ocean City, Md., and a hard-freeze warning stretched from Texas through Alabama.
“Today will be just as bad as yesterday in terms of the state of the roads,” said Guy Walton, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.
Icy roads were further snarled by businesses and schools letting people leave early on Tuesday in an attempt to beat the worst of the bitter conditions. Authorities in Alabama were left red-faced after declaring a state of emergency only for the southern half of the state, leaving out hard-hit Birmingham and sending available equipment the other way.
Not all the misery was on the roads: More than 3,500 flights were delayed across the U.S. by mid-morning Wednesday with another 1,426 canceled, according to FlightAware.
Video: 7,000 without power in North Carolina after storm
Dylan Dreyer is in Fayetteville, N.C., where thousands are without power. Sidney Hinton, CEO of electric company PowerSecure, says the company is working to restore power, focusing on facilities such as hospitals first.
Just from all of the news coverage I've seen and read, it's yet another "But they weren't prepared...enough..." rhetoric(a lot like Katrina and other natural disasters that have happened).
Atlanta's 'Snowpocalypse' turned ordinary commutes into chaos, confusion
Yahoo News readers' personal stories about a three-inch snowstorm that paralyzed a metro area
It’s likely not the birthday celebration James Freeman wished for.
The Rome, Ga., resident spent Tuesday — his 31st birthday — slogging across 72 miles of icy metro-Atlanta roads for 12 hours after leaving Norcross at 2:30 p.m.
“Some called it ‘Snowpocalypse,’ others ‘Snowmageddon.’ I called it my birthday,” Freeman wrote in a first-person account for Yahoo News on Thursday.
While his wife awaited him with cake and presents, he crawled along in his car: “After 10 minutes, I had gone a whopping mile.”
After learning of “grim” traffic reports that warned of “gridlock in every direction,” he spied a nearby Target store and hopped in to buy Cajun-style beef jerky, roasted peanuts, bottled water, and lighters.
The next six-and-a-half miles took him seven-and-a-half hours.
“Although my drive was less than fast, it was full of excitement. At one point, the man in the car next to me jumped out of his vehicle and made a pit stop in the nearby bushes. Additionally, I saw a group of mothers blocking the 400 south exit onto Holcomb Bridge in order to help their children's school bus get through the intersection and into the parking lot to unload the kids. In this encounter, there were plenty of curse words, middle fingers, and horns, but the mothers fearlessly stood in front of traffic to hasten the retrieval of their children. It looked dangerous but was fueled by motherly love. I was just glad to have a couple lanes between me and the raucous scene.
“Over the course of 12 hours, I saw countless cars stuck on ice, abandoned and crashed after sliding off the road. After 72.5 miles and almost getting stuck 50 feet from the house, I finally arrived safely home at 3 a.m. I might have missed my birthday, but my wife greeted me with a kiss and a glass of wine, and we toasted my birthday adventure.”
Here are more tales from this week’s storm that dumped three inches of snow on metro Atlanta, iced roads, canceled nearly 800 flights, caused roughly 1,200 accidents, injured at least 130 people, killed two, wrecked countless commutes and stranded thousands in local schools and businesses.
In surreal scene, cars pile atop each other
On Camp Creek Parkway, there were enormous amounts of traffic, but I couldn't turn around to go another way. The traffic was at a standstill. I said to myself, Where are all of these people coming and going? It’s only 2:45 p.m. Little did I know my 15-minute drive home was going to turn into a four-hour nightmare.
The traffic was “moving” at 5 mph, with large 18-wheelers turned over and others' cars in ditches; needless to say, it was cluster of accidents. I wasn't driving in the snow. I was driving on ice. Three hours later, I was two miles from home. At the intersection of Camp Creek Parkway and Campbellton Road, cars were piled up on top of cars. It was surreal; there was no law enforcement around to get motorists out of this mess.
— Garry Jones
Atlanta and state officials need to answer tough questions
By 1 p.m. on Tuesday, it was obvious the snowfall was too steady for the predicted light sprinkling. It was really snowing, and I innately knew that Georgia was not prepared.
I phoned my mother to see if her job was letting employees out early. "It's business as usual today," she said. But about three hours later she was stuck in the massive traffic jam that hindered commuters. Fortunately, she was able to get home in three hours instead of the 20-plus some Atlanta drivers endured.
Public officials are dancing around key concerns of metro Atlanta citizens: What time had workers officially started pre-treating roads with salt? Who gave the official go-ahead for schools, government and private businesses to send people home at the same time? These questions haven't been answered.
I thought Atlanta had learned from 2011's winter atrocity, but apparently not fully.
— Nicole Denise
On the road for more than 24 hours
My brother-in-law, Don, lives in Dalton. He drives an 18-wheeler. We were scrambling to reach him by phone. We reached him around 5:30 p.m.; he had been sitting on I-285 since 11:30 a.m.
At midnight he was still there. The law required him to get some sleep. There was a knock on his cab door — two motorists seeking warmth. By noontime he was moving. Under normal traffic conditions, he was an hour away from home. He arrived home safely seven hours later. He had spent twenty-four and one-half hours on I-285.
— Harold Michael Harvey
Family’s short trips turn into long nightmares
My wife drove home around noon — first amazed at the snowfall – but suddenly the roads changed and she witnessed two accidents. Her usual 20-minute drive turned into a two-hour slog to get home.
Our son spent several hours driving a few miles; he, too, saw numerous accidents. He lives nearby and still cannot make it home.
Our other son works near Atlanta and it took him seven hours to drive seven miles. He finally had to park his car and walk the remaining three miles home. Fortunately, he plans for survival and had serious winter clothing in his car.
My wife's brother did not have such good luck. He is handicapped so walking home is not an option for him. Before arriving at his home, his car slid down a hill. He was in an accident but able to continue driving. He tried several hotels and they were full. After spending the night with a friend, he finally got home Wednesday.
— Bill Harbin Jr.
Drivers abandon cars after accidents
Now that it has been two consecutive days of logjam, it's clear that as a state we should have heeded their warnings.
Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, before the ice storm really hit its stride, I was trying to get home from a grocery store that is only two miles from my house. It took 45 minutes to get home and in that two-mile stretch, there were four car accidents. The entrance to my neighborhood is a long, winding road and I also live in the midst of a steep hill, but luckily I made it back before the street became impossible to travel on.
On Wednesday morning, I decided to bundle up and venture out on foot to see how the conditions on my main road, Highway 92, were. The walk was dicey because of the ice and my inadequate footwear, but I managed to get out of my neighborhood safely. As I progressed about a mile farther, I saw about a half-dozen cars that had been abandoned by the owners and have yet to be retrieved.
— Benjamin Hanes
Tuesday’s storm the ‘beginning of massive hysteria’
Many Atlantans saw the precipitation as an excuse to cut out from work early and schools to close shop. What ensued, however, was the beginning of massive hysteria.
Some of the worst chaos and confusion was in Buckhead — right outside our front door. Our house is located off of Mount Paran Road and is very close to Roswell Road. Roswell Road connects to I-285, one of the main interstate highways that travels around Atlanta. Cars were backed up from the light on Roswell Road for miles.
The snow froze so fast it was hard for cars to maneuver up and down the small two-lane road. Many drivers abandoned their cars to complete their trek home on foot. At one point in the night, two cars got stuck, and my roommates and I helped push their cars off the ice and directed traffic. Our neighbors handed out bottle water, gum and crackers to help those who had been stuck in their cars for hours.
My parents were forced to sleep at a Waffle House and an office building, and my roommate’s parents slept at a hospital and a CVS pharmacy.
No pictures or stories can describe the real panic from Tuesday.