Gridlockalypse! Patch Readers Speak Out

The massive traffic jam that followed Tuesday’s snowfall in metro Atlanta has plenty of folks talking and pointing fingers.

How will you remember 'Gridlockalypse' 2014? Credit: Frank Arsic
How will you remember 'Gridlockalypse' 2014? Credit: Frank Arsic

As temperatures crept above the freezing mark Thursday afternoon, metro Atlanta residents began the process of retrieving their abandoned vehicles left in the wake of Winter Storm Leon.

Later Thursday, Gov. Nathan Deal extended the State of Emergency for Georgia through Sunday night, “to assure that all necessary resources are available for state agencies and local governments to clear roads and all other winter storm-related obstacles.” 

And while the challenges of overcoming those obstacles continues to be met, plenty of frustrated folks are expressing what they think went wrong and why the metro region again was so adversely affected by yet another winter weather storm.

Here’s a small sampling of comments posted at Patch sites around the state:

Larry Burdge:

Too many "false alarms" from the past about snow coming coupled with the fact that it was 60 degrees the day before didn't help. However, when an official gets a call from the National Weather Service at 3 am Tuesday morning, it's time to act and not wait "to see" if something is going to happen. It was on everyone's phone and tablet radar that it was moving to Atlanta.

Brannon Glover:

I blame the city for not preparing early since we knew there was something coming, but not sure how big. There should've been trucks dumping salt early on the day of the snowfall. Kasim Reed and Nathan Deal were not smart about this at all.


Meteorologic science is real. Satellite imagery of the storm (sleet and snow) approaching and also the rate of speed was announced for at least one week in advance. I blame employers,government officials and school systems for not believing in science and requiring students and employees to report to work. I also blame adults who do not believe in weather forecasts.

Jimmy Berry:

Anyone who doubts the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast should carefully read the "forecast discussions" issued by the Peachtree City office (Atlanta) starting MONDAY at 4:30am: - a full day before the event unfolded. Specifically, NWS begins their discussion with: "...WINTER STORM WITH SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS REMAINS LIKELY..." and later writes: "SNOW/SLEET/FREEZING RAIN...NOW HAVE LIKELY TO CATEGORICAL SNOW ACROSS ENTIRE ATLANTA METRO". Forecaster Deese, who authored this discussion, also writes: "PERSONALLY FAVOR PRECIP SPREADING FURTHER NORTH THAN MODELS PROJECT WHICH WOULD IN THIS CASE BRING WINTER HAZARDS NORTHWARD AS WELL." Again, this discussion was written over 24 hours BEFORE the storm! There is little ambiguity in this forecast and it’s a mystery why government officials were so lax in heeding a well-written warning in what should have been a slam-dunk decision to close schools and government offices on Tuesday.


At some point, a certain amount of blame has to lie in ourselves. We can always look at the weather, see what's coming, and decide "nope". My employer didn't close the doors until 3 and send everyone home. However, the thought hit me to go ahead and leave at 10 when the snow started. I could have - I didn't. Also, a bunch of the traffic issues were caused by people driving too quickly and carelessly for conditions and wrecking out. So yes, city and state leadership failed on many fronts, but we-the-people own a fair amount of blame in this too.


We dont need or want an outer perimeter to make billionaires out of land developers. We don't need Marta trains that cost $45 million per mile to the suburbs We could use a DOT and governor and school officials that are not complete morons Just two weeks ago they cancelled school because of the low temps And a few hours before the sort of predicted storm the DOT was on TV bragging how they learned their lesson in 2011 and now have 11 salt farms 90 spreader trucks and employees on standby prepared to work overtime Yet they DID NOTHING !!!!! Except sit on their stupid lazy butts And it continues to this morning It's been 44 hours since it snowed and 285 is closed in THREE places because of ice. Because the DOT is too incompetent to spread salt in the busiest road in the entire southeast TWO days later !!!

Bill (Alex) Walker:

In many places scenes were shown on TV where all lanes were blocked by tractor trailers, especially the inside lane where they shouldn't be. Trucks drivers and trucking companies caught blocking the inside lane should be heavily fined for contributing to the gridlock. It is a shame that many drivers of eighteen wheelers think they own the road.

ray jay:

All i know is weather forecasters led most to believe the storm was gonna hit further south with accuweather saying that North Georgia was suppose to get UP to 1 inch so with this said students in macon area were given 2 days offf from school before the first snow flake fell. Who to blame? Certainly not the State and not the schools for going ahead with classes that day at the most schools could habe released kids earlier but considering they go to school at 8 and they made the decision to dismiss kids at 11 thats pretty early.


Atlanta can check off getting any Superbowls in their new stadium. No league would want to chance the problems Atlanta has with a couple inches of snow. Shut down freeways, airport, and roads for almost a week. What a total breakdown!

Geoff Fitz:

Don't feel too bad, ATL. My hometown of Seattle was in much the same position about 15 years ago. They had millions of complainers wondering "Why can't we deal with weather?". The outcry was such that the city and county purchased a huge stash of removal equipment and chemicals for ice removal. Hasn't been a major snow since then! 


Louisiana: Persistent winter storm wreaks havoc well into Wednesday in south Louisiana, closing interstates, bridges, airports. North Carolina: Schools closed, a foot of snow Birmingham, friend recounted a 5 hour trip to go 6 miles in his car off of I20 and I59. Atlanta politicians deserve plenty of blame, so do others


MARTA is smarta. I left midtown at 1PM and made it home by 2PM (there was a little delay due to problems at 5 Points). My boss left at the same time and it took him 8 hours to get to Roswell road. Then another 1 hour walking because he gave up driving.


#1, the GDOT does have the equipment necessary! 2. The employees do not know how to use it properly 3. The GDOT has all the resources to easily provide instant information correctly but does not 4. I can provide the proof of all these claims, can you? No! 5. This has happened 9 times since 1979, and every time it is the same response. 6. If this was in the private sector, we would all be unemployed. 7. This happens once a week in the north and midwest in extremely large cities and doesnt phase them because of plain and simple procedures and logistics. 8. To the writer of the article, you apparently do not understand and need to be educated. 9. If I have spelling errors, sorry, on a phone and hard to go back and correct them. 10. The government has the money and resources for all facets of a statewide emergency , but the complacency of all of them plus their failures to do a simple task are just too overwhelming. 11. Get all your data before posting what you think, it is about facts not thoughts!!! Thank you

Ann Hudren:

How many citizens / commuters have been added in the metro ATL area since 1982? That was 30 years ago. You cannot compare any of the last 3 events as a layperson / citizen and come up with an armchair solution for the state. Even our state government officials cannot be expected to get it right. Look at what happened in NOLA with Katrina, it not like those citizens had not seen a hurricane in 25 years and they did not listen to the warnings. You can have all the preparedness, etc at your disposal and it's the CITIZENS and their reactions that are the most critical. Every weather event is different, and the next one will be the same. The media has hyped up weather events so many times that have never come to fruition, it's no wonder anyone even paid attention to this latest event. Even then, the days and days of forecasting and many changes in the pattern often turns on deaf ears for most. By 330 Tuesday morning, when the warning was posted most people were so whiplashed by the many turns this snowfall had taken.


The mayor and the governor can't tell your job to let you off on Tuesday because snow is coming! Why didn't your employers make the decision to close down. I'm sure workers lived in many areas of town , about 15 to 30 miles away from the job. You can't wait on your job or govt to tell you what is best for You!

bill smith:

"We have an event like this once every two or three years for a day or two. Please, Please, Please, my liberal friends, how much tax money should be spent to become your keeper? When do you get to use good judgment while waiting for the government to tell you how to live, act, stay safe or take a day off of school or work? Do you solemnly swear (w/o "so help me God") or do we have to do that for you? " Exactly what in the hell are you talking about? Anyway, I think we can all agree that the school systems dropped the ball by not cancelling school. This is painfully obvious. There was a winter storm warning issued at approximately 4 or 5 am on Tuesday morning. Secondly, both Deal and Kasim were completely absent before the storm (attending their luncheon or whatever). When the storm warning was issued, Kasim should have been front and center on news channels recommending that businesses close in preparation for the storm and Kasim should of been in contact with atl public schools recommending they do not open as well. This is what true leaders do lead, not react to situations after the fact. Who cares at that point. Judging by Deals comments, he was more worried about what would have happened if he guessed wrong. So in essence he's saying he COULD of done something beforehand, but he was too scared. In any case, its situations like this tell what kind of leaders you have. Its obvious and been proven over the years that both Deal and Reed are incompetent and should not be in the offices they currently hold.

Keith Folk:

I'm from the northeast, MD, VA, DC, PA, NJ, I've been driving in deeper snow than you got, for over 35 years (in my two wheel drive vehicles). I'm not an expert but I was warned about this from previous storm survivors - and on the news - and never left the home, I knew better. As a casual observer, only my third winter in Atlanta, some observations: 1) It's no ones fault, stop placing blame. There is NOT enough snow/ice removal equipment (or folks used to driving in it) - understandable. 2) Storm preparation plans were not adequate - need to pre-salt ALL of the off ramps and inclines. 3) Government - This would not have been a "Snow Emergency" in any of those other states I've lived in - learn what they do right - educate yourself. 4) School should have been called the night before. This would have keep a lot of other commuters at home to stay home with their kids (and off the road) 5) Any weather events here clog the roads - at first sign - divert tractor trailer traffic around the city on the belt line. Drivers plan for alternate routes. 6) Deliveries within the city would be made only on approved truck routes that would have adequate snow/ice removal equipment. 7) Four wheel drive vehicles still have to wait behind 2 wheel drives that get stuck - stay off the road so the salt trucks can do their job. Spend extra hours at work. You could then avoid those limited access highways and drive your alternate routes. 8) Abandoned vehicles - who does this? If your car is low on fuel - get it off the highway, don't get on at all - or move it out of the travel lane - stay with your vehicle unless you are told by someone in uniform to abandon it. I am sorry to hear about any loss of life over an event of this kind. I am shocked that more people were not hurt or worse. Thank you for all of those emergency responders, volunteers and just plain folks spending those thankless hours helping your fellow citizens. I could go on and on - Lets get ready for the next "Snow-mageddon" and do better next time - deal? Joel I'd be happy to edit your stories for you - autocorrect just isn't going to cut it.

Nick Nicholson:

Grow up, everyone. We all knew snow was coming. Why are we looking for someone to blame? We citizens were dumb for not preparing. No one knew the snow would come so fast and shut us down like it did. But we should have known that a shutdown was a possibility and prepared accordingly for that contingency. This is not a Republican response. It's an adult response. By the way, I'm a Democrat and can take personal responsibility.

Rick Laupus:

I saw graphic recently where a number of people were polled as to the first thought that came to their mind regarding a particular state. California and New York, for example, were expensive. Oregon was green. Illinois, corrupt. And Georgia? Backward. First impressions count. This debacle-repeated debacle-says it all.

janet h russell:

All this energy spent complaining and blaming and the sun is shining again. Last year winter was one day . If you took a long nap on that one day you missed it. Atlanta (city of) and Atlanta (metro) are interconnected by a sprawling car centered economy. Everyone wants to be part of the economy but most do not want to share in the fact that they are part of the problem. Relax, Saturday it will be 60 degrees and raining. Then everyone can complain about "more rain". We are a spoiled group of people who want our own personal world to be perfect while we forget that there is a world bigger than the one we live in. 


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