Road workers fanned out to clean up debris and target patches of dangerous black ice that reformed overnight as temperatures plunged below freezing. In Cobb County, where nearly 200 felled trees blocked roadways, officials prepared for what could be a lengthy cleanup process.
“We hope to have the majority of trees cleaned up by mid-afternoon,” said Bill Shelton, manager of the county’s road maintenance unit. “We’ll spend much of the week picking up the debris off the right-of-way. It will be a long week, but we are up to the task.”
And some motorists resorted to mass transit rather than risk tangling with a patch of black ice, after Gov. Nathan Deal and other officials warned them to stay home on Saturday. Marcus Todd said he was “taking no chances” on his route home late Saturday.
“I really don’t ride the bus, but tonight it is one of those nights that I had to get on the bus,” he said. “The ice and my car - I didn’t want to get in an accident out here.”
By Sunday, though, parts of metro Atlanta had returned to a semblance of normal. In north Atlanta, malls were packed with shoppers and many streets that were empty Saturday were alive Sunday with traffic.
Still, dozens of churches called off services on Sunday because of the messy road conditions. And officials at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport raced to resume regular operations after hundreds of flights were canceled on Friday and Saturday because of the snow.
Other cancellations seemed worthy of a punchline.
Author Renee Regent scrapped an appearance in Woodstock for her book about snow because of, well, the snow. Six Flags Over Georgia canned a 1,000-person snowball fight with fake snowballs planned for Saturday for the same reason. Stone Mountain’s “Snow Mountain” attraction met the same ironic fate.
The pre-winter storm blanketed the region with more snow than many longtime residents had experienced in decades. In the span of one day, Channel 2’s Walls said, Atlanta received about 80 percent of its annual snowfall projections.
Parents dusted off lightly used snow boots and winter jackets, kids carted out sleds and built landscapes of makeshift snowmen that by Sunday had begun to melt into slushy blobs.
The wintry weather also appeared to contribute to at least two fatalities. A fallen power line electrocuted a man in Atlanta late Friday who witnesses said ignored warnings to steer clear of the live wire. And police say a fatal crash in Carroll County was weather-related.
Georgia Department of Transportation crews working 12-hour shifts treated patches of ice across the area Sunday and dispatched teams to monitor the roads and look for other spots that could become hazardous. GDOT planned to treat all areas where moisture could pose a threat as roads refreeze.
Officials warned motorists who encounter black ice on the roads to heed three tips: Hold the steering wheel straight, don’t pump the brakes and let off the gas to let the car decelerate.
“Everybody should be prepared for a normal – albeit cautious – commute on Monday morning,” said GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale.
Staff writers Vanessa McCray, Marlon A. Walker and David Wickert and Channel 2 Action News reporter Lauren Pozen contributed to this article.
Staff writers Vanessa McCray, Marlon A. Walker and David Wickert and Channel 2 Action News reporter Lauren Pozen contributed to this report.
Advice from the Georgia Department of Transportation for Monday’s commute:
As prime black ice conditions continuing around the metro area, we caution motorists during their Monday morning commute to stay alert and keep speeds low. If they encounter black ice patches we encourage them to report the location to 511 so that crews can be dispatched for treatment.
We want to remind motorists that it is their duty to clear their car of all snow and ice before hitting the roads. While main arteries may be clear and dry for travel, ice and snow flying off hoods, roofs, and trunks of cars create unnecessarily hazardous roads conditions.
Use your best judgment. While main arteries may be clear, many smaller, less traveled roads in shaded areas may remain icy. Use extreme caution and best judgement when traveling.