Atlanta’s woes: Who said what, and what happened next

updated 7:00 PM EST, Thurs January 30, 2014

Who's to blame for the chaos that brought Atlanta to a halt after yesterday's ice storm? CNN’s Anderson Cooper takes a look.

How did one of America's largest cities -- one famous as a transportation hub since its infancy -- turn into a scene of epic gridlock with just two inches of snow? CNN takes a look at the warnings that were posted and what resulted.


Chesley McNeil, a meteorologist at CNN affiliate WXIA, reports that "Atlanta is now in the Winter Storm Warning area. 1 to 3" possible. North of the city 1/2 to an inch."

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The National Weather Service adds metro Atlanta to a winter storm watch that had been issued Sunday afternoon, projecting up to two inches of snow. "Snow is expected to begin as early as midmorning Tuesday and last into Tuesday night," the watch states.

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CNN affiliate WXIA reports the first weather-reported accident, on Interstate 85 well south of Atlanta.

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The Atlanta independent weekly Creative Loafing warns readers, "SNOW! Accidents abound. Be safe."

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Despite the warnings, CNN meteorologist Jennifer Grey reports, "Nobody is staying home ... the entire city is gridlocked right now." An inch of snow has fallen so far.

A winter storm warning is issued for counties in the southern part of metro Atlanta, predicting a "wintry mix" of snow and sleet will fall through Tuesday evening. "Snow and ice covered roads will make travel difficult or impossible beginning Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday," it warns.

Forecasters replace the storm watch to an advisory, noting that a storm warning could follow soon.

Atlanta and its suburbs are placed under a winter storm warning effective at 9 a.m. "Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous," the warning states.


DeKalb County says schools will be dismissed early: "Parents may pick up students at the schools at any time."

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Fulton County schools announce that they will be closing at 1:45 p.m., since "Today’s weather pattern has come in faster than initially forecasted."

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With epic gridlock taking hold, the Atlanta Police Department tells Twitter followers, "APD is aware of the traffic situations around the city and we are working with various departments to resolve the issues."

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Georgia DOT’s northwest regional division tweets, "We understand the difficulties some motorists in NWGA are experiencing. But heavy traffic makes it harder for our crews to do their work."

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Deal declares a state of emergency, committing state police and the National Guard to help clear the roads. "Unfortunately, traffic is delaying the ability of crews to treat highways all across the state," he adds.

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Reed tells reporters that 90% of the snow-removal equipment the city bought after a 2011 ice storm is "up and out in the streets."

Deal tells reporters the storm and traffic jam "became so heavy in such a short time frame" that the state was unable to keep roads moving. He promises, "There are going to be a lot of people spending a lot of long hours in the cold tonight trying to get things better by in the morning."