Trying to predict the particulars of the winter storm that hit metro Atlanta and North Georgia on Sunday was like trying to hit a moving target.

“Wintry mix” was the all-encompassing description of the day. Even the Georgia DOT interstate signs displayed that term to urge drivers to be careful.

Sunday’s “mix” was a brew that had high winds, temperatures dancing above and below freezing, a swirling weather front and a sliding scale of rain, sleet and snow. Mix that with an enormous geographical area and you’ll have some wintry variety.

Residents could face post-storm problems Monday morning. As evening approached Sunday, temperatures were dropping below freezing, causing highways and roads to freeze and wrecks to become more common.

Snowfall amounts ranged from a trace southwest of the city to 5-plus inches in northeast Georgia. On Sunday morning there were more than 110,000 homes that were out of power, according to reports from Georgia Power and other EMCs. But by late afternoon Sunday, crews had whittled that number to about half that.

GDOT had about about 2,000 employees treating and clearing roads during the weekend, spreading more than 1.5 million gallons of brine and 2,600 tons of salt. DOT spokesperson Natalie Dale said COVID-19 has not caused staffing shortages that would prevent the agency from fielding full teams on the roads. But, she added, “we don’t have a deep bench.”

“We’ve got ice, we’ve got wind, we’ve got COVID,” Dale said. “So, here we go.”

Hall County had reports of having as many as 50 trees down across roads and power lines, most of them falling due to the high winds Sunday morning that reached gusts of 50 mph.

Meanwhile, more than 300 Atlanta flights scheduled for Sunday in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on multiple airlines were canceled, according to that morning’s numbers from flight tracking website

The metro snowfall was long-awaited (or dreaded) — there hadn’t been a measurable snowfall in Atlanta in about four years.

The timing of the storm was good, as it hit on a Sunday, when people were largely not working and schools were not open. Also, the storm was followed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, largely giving the area another day’s respite.

It as a far cry from Snowmageddon 2014 (or Snow Jam or Snowpocalypse) when schools let out and commuters left work midday to beat the storm, only to clog the roads and highways as ice and snow blanketed them.

Adam Cosby, who lives near the Gwinnett County/Hall County line, was picking up some coffee at a QT station near I-985 on Sunday afternoon and was heading home to stay.

“We have a beef roast in the crockpot and we’re going to watch some football,” said Cosby, adding that the social-distancing, work-at-home, stockpiling groceries ethos of the past two years might have people in the right mindset for winter emergencies. “This COVID thing has gotten everyone ready for something like this.”

A short distance from Cosby was the Zolman family enjoying the weather, building a snowman and throwing snowballs. The family had driven from Thomaston, an hour-plus south of Atlanta and was headed to Helen, when they decided south Hall County was far enough.

Raymond Clark, left, and Alayna Zolman build a snowman at a QT service station off I-985, The family drove nearly 100 miles Sunday to see some snow. Photo by Bill Torpy

Credit: Bill Torpy

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Credit: Bill Torpy

“It’s the first time we’ve seen snow in five years,” said Jerry Zolman of the family’s 100-mile trip.

“We’re going to head home soon and get back before the roads get bad,” said Debbie Zolman.

It was wise advice amid the region’s wintry mix.

Staff writers Caroline Silva, Kelly Yamanouchi, David Wickert and Rosana Hughes contributed to this article.