People not native to the south may laugh when cities like Atlanta cancel school for a small amount of snow. However, those native to the city and surrounding areas know that our snow often freezes to become ice, creating unique traffic situations and dangers. The recent winter weather event caused a spate of cancellations and closures. However, according to those in the know, we came through the situation with flying colors as the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reports.
Initial forecasts called for a light dusting, but as Friday afternoon brought more snow than predicted, many had already gotten to school and work. Memories of “Snowmageddon 2014” where thousands were stuck in traffic jams as the temperatures dipped, bringing with it freezing rain, came to mind.
Thankfully, temperatures did not dip below freezing until Friday night, but the traffic jams did occur.
As the event began to worsen, businesses and schools closed early, causing trips across the city to last an hour and longer trips taking four or five. However, as much as the weather deteriorated and traffic snarled, there weren’t a huge number of crashes. It was more akin to a holiday rush hour that began early.
State and local GDOT teams pretreated roads beginning Thursday evening to help things, allowing major roads (with a few exceptions) to remain largely passable. By Saturday, the snow was a slushy mess and the GDOT urged people to stay off the roads, though they were difficult, but passable.
The largest problem for most areas were roads that became impassable due to trees and power lines that had been downed due to the snow cover.
Thanks to agencies both public and private, and a little luck, Atlanta weathered this winter storm well.
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