Casting that wide net brought in literally dozens of storm-related traffic issues. As winds howled at 50 mph and buckets of rain poured, pools of standing water formed and, of course, wrecks started proliferating. Trees and wires came down knocking out power and blocking roads. “We had our share of huge trees fall on the interstates: one in West Atlanta on I-20/westbound knocking out two right lanes at MLK Junior Drive and one that fell on at least one vehicle on I-985/nb near Spout Springs Road in Hall County,” McKay explained. “The majority of the trees came crashing down in neighborhoods and subdivisions all across North Georgia. It made getting around challenging for a couple of days in some instances.” In fact, Cherokee County had at least three roads impacted with utility work at least four days after the storm.
McKay finally got a birds eye view from the Skycopter of the swaths of problems the next day. “The morning after the storm in the WSB SkyCopter told the story of the hundreds of thousands who were without power. Neighborhoods that we fly over every day were dark. No house lights, no street lights, no traffic signals. It was a patchwork of the haves and the have nots, with some neighborhoods looking normal in the predawn hours and the others hardly recognizable in the complete darkness.”
That phenomenon, in some ways, made covering the storm more challenging. There was widespread damage in pockets - no one area truly got hit the hardest. Everywhere got a little bit. And just as with any storm, there was no time to gather and announce every single road affected. But Ashley Frasca, Mark Arum, Veronica Harrell, Mike Shields, Alex Williams, Zach Grizzle, Jonathan Dockery, and David Hubbard hustled hard to find as many issues as possible and keep a running list on wsbradio.com and our Triple Team Traffic Alerts App.
And power crews were busy for days, even relying on help from other states, to get homes, businesses, and intersections back online. “Hats off to the power crews who are based here in Georgia and those who came in from adjoining states to help clear debris and get the lights back on,” McKay said. “On Monday, 11/2, we flew over what looked to be a staging area for those crews in the parking lot of the Atlanta Civic Center. It was a reassuring sight from 700 feet up that teamwork helped get Georgia back on its feet after the storm.”
Georgia could very well need another assist this coming week, as Tropical Storm Eta could track toward North Georgia. First responders, power crews, our WSB Radio and WSB-TV meteorologists, and the WSB Traffic Team will be ready.
Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin' Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@cmg.com .