NEW: People who left cars on Atlanta interstates are being told to go to staging areas Thursday
NEW: Fuel and the capability to jump dead batteries will be made available, officials say
About 200 children remain trapped at schools in Alabama, the governor says
At least 10 people have been killed in weather-related incidents across the Southeast
Empty streets, shuttered storefronts and abandoned vehicles littering the side of the road.
That was the scene across much of metropolitan Atlanta on Wednesday as people hunkered down to wait out the aftermath of a snow and ice storm that brought the nation’s ninth-largest metropolitan area to a screeching halt.
A day after up to 3 inches of snow in parts of Georgia caused horrific gridlock on ice-covered streets – particularly in metropolitan Atlanta where thousands were trapped on the roads overnight – several major thoroughfares remained a mess due to lingering accidents and other problems.
In neighboring Alabama, there was a similar scene playing out.
“There are still four or five areas on our interstates that are still treacherous. The traffic is still proceeding very slowly, but we are making progress,” Gov. Robert Bentley said.
“We still have a number of students around the state that could potentially have to remain in school tonight, but they will be taken care of. They will be protected. They will be fed. They will stay warm.”
And as bad as things remained in parts of Georgia and Alabama early Wednesday evening, state officials feared it would only get worse as the night wore on and the temperatures dropped.
They pleaded for people to stay at home. Many of the roads were littered with abandoned vehicles and remained impassible. Many of those were in the metro Atlanta area.
“We’re working on clearing the abandoned vehicles. We’re just pushing them to the shoulders,” said Karlene Barron of the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Motorists who left their vehicles on interstates are being told to go at 10 a.m. ET Thursday to one of two staging areas, depending on where they abandoned their car or truck, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
“There will be fuel available for vehicles that ran out of gas as well as the capability to jump off a dead battery,” the agency said in a written statement. State police will have a database to help motorists locate their vehicle, if it was towed to an impound lot, and will provide transportation to the lot, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the interstates and ramps were being “re-treated,” she said, as forecasters predicted a deep freeze overnight that will likely freeze any moisture on the roadways.
“For interstates, 100% have been cleared,” Barron said. “But we haven’t gotten to all the state routes, but we’ve pretty much touched all of the interstates. It’s a ver