Still, Georgia leaders seem aware of public angst and tried to mitigate it. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said on Twitter Wednesday morning that crews are working diligently to salt and sand roadways. He added: "We know you want to get home, and we are going to work all day until you can return safely." Twenty hours before, he offered this message on Twitter: "Atlanta, we are ready for the snow."
Officials also noted that poor travel conditions were exacerbated Tuesday by a mass of workers ending their days early.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta's snarled freeways to try to move stranded school buses and get food and water to people. Georgia State Patrol troopers headed to schools where children were hunkered down early Wednesday after spending the night there, and transportation crews continued to treat roads and bring gas to motorists, Deal said.
Around Atlanta, nearly all public entities and most businesses were shut down early Wednesday. Officials encouraged would-be motorists not to drive. City buses were not running, and some commuters who opted for rail service met new frustrations as they stood on platforms awaiting trains into the city center. A sea of red brake lights remained at a standstill along a dozen lanes of the Downtown Connector shortly before dawn Wednesday.
If there was a bright spot in the epic gridlock in the region, it was that the bitter cold brought warm, Southern-style graciousness to the fore, as strangers opened up their homes, volunteers served coffee and snacks to the traffic-bound, and schoolbound principals played bingo and other games with stranded students to while away the time.
Debbie Hartwig, a waitress at an Atlanta area waffle house, said she managed to keep her cool thanks in part to the kindness of strangers after 10 hours on the road.