Winter storm 'Leon' leaves thousands stranded in Atlanta

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Wednesday morning's rush hour is just an extension of people trying to beat the winter storm on Tuesday.

Ice and snow had thousands of people across all major Atlanta freeways trapped for as many as 12 hours.

Marta is suspending service until 8 a.m. and then will run on a Sunday schedule.

As of 4 a.m. here was the last from GDOT:

Numerous roads throughout the state have at times been temporarily unpassable, including Interstate Highway 75/85 (The Atlanta Downtown Connector) southbound at Fulton Street, Interstate Highway 20 westbound at the Connector, Interstate Highway 85 southbound in Gwinnett County at Hamilton Mill Road, numerous Interstate 75 entrance and exit ramps in Cobb County, north and southbound I-75 in Bartow County at State Route 20, Interstate Highway 575 northbound in Cherokee County at Cumming Highway, Interstate Highway 985 southbound in Hall County at State Route 129, Interstate 75 NB beginning in Monroe County at mile marker 181, Interstate 75 SB between mile markers 199 and 201 in Butts and Lamar Counties, SR 155 at SR 42 in Henry County;, Interstate Highway 20 westbound in Richmond County, State Route 16 at the Spalding/Coweta counties line; State Route 141 north and southbound in Gwinnett County, State Route 9 north and southbound in Forsyth County, State Route 164 east and westbound in Banks County, State Route 120 eastbound in Haralson County, State Route 61 in Carroll County, State Route 36 near Nelson Drive in Upson County, State Route 49 at State Route 42 in Peach County, State Route 156 east and west bound in Gordon County, portions of State Routes 14, 38 and 92 in Fulton County. Crews are working at all locations but black ice accumulations often result in a corridor having to be temporarily closed multiple times

The only roads officially closed for the duration at this time are the customary winter weather closings of State Route 180 Spur in Towns County and a portion of State Route 348 in White County.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal says this winter storm was "unexpected".

In a late night news conference Tuesday, Gov. Deal, along with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and other state officials, discussed the level of preparedness for the storm and its aftermath.

Deal said Tuesday's storm "came unexpectedly," which caught the area off guard when it came to the amount of traffic stranded on the roads. Deal said he was calling on the Georgia National Guard to help with the storm's aftermath.

Reed said he and his administration would "take responsibility" for what happened, saying that part of the problem was due to everyone leaving work and school at once.

The entire state of Georgia along with five other Southeastern states are under states of emergency after snow and ice hammered the region Tuesday.

As of 2 a.m. Georgia Power reported 1,800 customers in the dark statewide.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared the state of emergency late Tuesday afternoon, and was quickly joined by governors in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina making similar declarations.

As of 9 p.m., the Georgia State Patrol says they have been called out to investigate some 940 crashes since 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. The crashes have resulted in 104 injuries and one fatality.

That wreck happened just after 1 p.m. on Ga. Highway 85 at Seavy Streett in Senoia. A 1997 Ford Explorer being driven by 60 year-old Yvonne Nash of Griffin was traveling southbound on Georgia 85 when the vehicle lost control and overturned into a ditch. Nash was pulled from the vehicle and transported to Piedmont Fayette Hospital where she later died from her injuries.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for Atlanta and areas north, south and east of the city. The warning was pushed much farther to the north after the snow moved much further north than originally forecast. The storm warning will be in effect through early Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, the National Weather Service says the highest statewide snowfall amounts from Tuesday's storm are in Paulding and Cherokee Counties, where they said 3 1/2 inches had fallen.

At 9:30 p.m., Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May said he was issuing a state of emergency for that county, as many motorists were finding themselves stranded on the area's roads and highways.

Both AT&T and Verizon say high call volumes have caused problems with cell service across the metro. Both say they aware of the problems and are working to expand coverage.


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