Winter storm Leon creates trouble for Atlanta

Lauren Gorla

The winter storm has been dubbed ‘Leon’ and its affects meant trouble for many Atlanta citizens.

While students enjoyed one or even two days off for the weather, others were left stranded on the streets and in their cars. Some schools even held students overnight in fear of the icy conditions outside.

Many Georgia Southern University students come from Atlanta and had stories to share from friends and families that were affected by the snow.

“My mom is a teacher and they had an early release but my dad works in an office and it was open until noon, when it actually started snowing. Traffic sucked and a bunch of his coworkers were stuck in traffic for ten hours and walked seven miles to get home. They just abandoned their cars on the highway,” Jamie Price, senior biology major, said. “My dad stayed with a couple of coworkers in the office and they slept there. It’s usually just a 45-minute commute.”

“My aunt was stuck in Douglasville because she was doing internship hours for a class. She was there four or five hours longer than she was supposed to be. When she got home, my family got dressed in beach clothes and played in the snow. They sent me pictures. It was pretty funny,” Skylar Hooper, freshman pre-athletic training major, said.

“They got like four inches of snow and the schools usually don’t cancel until the last minute. It started snowing around 11 in the morning before they cancelled school. Kids had to wait in the gym and my mom had to drive an hour when we live three point two miles from the school. She nearly got hit twice in traffic and my dad was stuck at work for three hours,” Justin Hewitt, freshman business management major from Marietta, said.

“[My dad] was driving [on I-75] and it was jam-packed. So he was stranded for a while and then after an hour he was like, “I have to go to the bathroom, I have to find a gas station,” so he called my mom and she called her friend. He had to use the GPS on his phone and walked for two miles to get to my mom’s friends house where he had to spend the night,” Emily Pacitti, senior public relations major, said.

“[My friend] works at a PR firm in Atlanta and they got stuck there till five in the afternoon (Wednesday) when they got released at noon on Tuesday. And the business is in the middle of building a new cafeteria so they didn’t have any food,” Allison Cobb, junior public relations major, said.

“My uncle left his house at three to go pick up his daughter from school and got there at five. And he picked up all the neighborhood kids he could fit in his car to take them home and didn’t get home till about midnight, and they only live like 20 minutes from the school,” Carrie West, junior early childhood education major, said.

Press releases from the Mayor of Atlanta’s office, released on Monday before the storm, indicated that the city would be taking precautionary measures, like treating the 200 miles of road and bridges categorized as priority roads.

The City also made plans to enable the 30 spreaders and 40 snow plows in its department and to also use up to 700 pounds of sand and gravel mix, according to the release.

Old Adamsville Recreation Center was also opened Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to serve as a warming shelter.

In a press release issued on Tuesday at 1 p.m., Mayor Kasim Reed encouraged residents to stay off the roads through late Wednesday due to the icy road conditions.

A Joint Operations Center was sent out to respond to operational issues as a result of the snow and icy conditions

On Wednesday morning, a third press release was issued urging people to stay home to allow the city officials to treat roads to make them safe for travel. Public works worked throughout the night on Tuesday laying down salt and sand to prepare for the next day of travel, according to the release.

“We urge the public to stay home as much as possible today to allow our crews to make our roads safe, passable and fully open for business as soon as possible,” Reed said in the release. “Without a doubt, our first priority is ensuring the safety of all residents.”