Photos: Snow turns Atlanta into 'zombie movie'

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by CBS News

KMOV.com

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 1:19 PM

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says "a lot of people" are still stranded in their cars on the highways nearly 24 hours after a winter storm slammed the city, but he is not sure of exactly how many people.  

Reed said the focus Wednesday will be on getting food, water and gas to people still on the highways. The roads became gridlock Tuesday when schools, businesses and government offices all let out at the same time. As the snow fell on the traffic jam, the roads iced over, creating a mess.

Atlanta officials say they have gotten all of the students who spent the night in school buses off of the buses and to safe places, such as fire stations.

Reed says he is not thinking about giving the city a grade for its response right now, he is thinking about getting people out of their cars.

The National Guard was sending military Humvees onto the city's snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to students on them, Gov. Nathan Deal said early Wednesday.

Deal said the Georgia State Patrol was also sending troopers to schools where children remain stranded after spending the night in classrooms. His statement said state transportation crews were continuing to treat roads and bring gas to stranded motorists.

Deal planned a briefing at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Capitol to discuss the state's "ongoing disaster response."

MayorReed early Wednesday morning urged motorists to stay home to allow the city to adequately treat priority roads and bridges to make them safe for travel, reports CBS affiliate WGCL-TV.

A sea of red brake lights remained at a standstill along a dozen lanes of the Downtown Connector shortly before dawn Wednesday.

 

The Detroit Pistons' game at the Atlanta Hawks scheduled for Wednesday night has been postponed due to the winter storm which has made travel unsafe in Atlanta.

 

It wasn't known how many students were still aboard school buses stuck on roadways in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday, but a couple of the children were Atlanta Public Schools students.

"We have two students on buses this morning," Steve Smith, associate superintendent with Atlanta Public Schools, said in a telephone interview with WSB-TV around 6 a.m. Wednesday. Both of those students were on the same bus, Smith said.

For a second-straight day, the world's busiest airport in Atlanta was leading all other airports in the number of canceled flights. By sunrise Wednesday morning, a total of 485 flights in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were canceled, according to the flight tracking service FlightAware.

Nearly 50 work crews early Wednesday were focusing on metro roadways "and are hopeful Wednesday will bring a full recovery," the Georgia Department of Transportation said in an emailed update at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

"Clean-up efforts continue on metro Atlanta freeways and other roads in north and central Georgia and significant progress is being made," state transportation officials said in the Wednesday morning update.

Atlanta schools and companies dismissed students and workers around the same time when the snow began falling Tuesday afternoon, jamming roads with a sudden crush of traffic and resulting in gridlock, state transportation officials said in the morning update.

Atlanta city officials were providing food, blankets and cots to stranded students and travelers at the city's Greyhound bus station on the south edge of downtown, city officials said in an update on the storm Wednesday morning. The city also opened a temporary shelter at a recreation facility in southwest Atlanta that can house up to 100 people.

At the Glenn Hotel in downtown Atlanta, the blast of cold air that rushed through each time the door opened and the snow-blown streetscape outside made it appear more like a scene from Minneapolis than Atlanta on Wednesday night.

Bartender Sean Perry lives just 15 minutes from work but it took him 2½ hours to reach the Glenn Hotel Tuesday night.

Perry, who was able to make it to work, was more fortunate than many.

Chris Kennedy said it took him more than five hours to get to a school near his house in the northwest Atlanta suburb of Acworth. The trip typically takes 10 minutes.

By early Wednesday morning, downtown Atlanta seemed deserted except for the brake lights that cast a glow over Atlanta's Downtown Connector.

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