15 Sep 2014
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Cobb, Georgia Caught in Winter Impasse

Schools will be closed on Wednesday; most county government offices will have a delayed start while others, including some courts, will be closed.

Cobb, Georgia Caught in Winter Impasse
Despite plenty of advance warning, Tuesday's winter storm seemed to take many in metro Atlanta by surprise, as commuters sent home by their employers and students released early were stranded on roads and at schools into the evening hours. 

As much as three inches of snow were reported in the metro area, and more than an inch or more in places in Cobb County.

But it was ice that quickly hardened on roads and bridges that made driving treacherous, and all but impossible for many everyday motorists and school bus drivers to go very far at all.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for all 159 counties in Georgia.

Commuters abandoning vehicles

Some Cobb commuters posted on their social media accounts about hours-long traffic jams after employers let them go home. 

But some feared they would never get there, as they reported they had abandoned their vehicles and were prepared to spend the night in their offices and get a restaurant meal if they could find one.

"This is absolutely the craziest thing I've ever seen," East Cobb resident Eric Stein posted on Facebook. "Two inches of snow and the ATL is at a complete and total standstill."

Many businesses and colleges and universities closed early, as did public and private preschool and K-12 schools. Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic and State University and all campuses of Chattahoochee Tech will be closed Wednesday.

Even restaurants shut their doors early on Tuesday, including Marietta's venerable Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q.

Students stuck at schools

Some Cobb schools students (along with teachers and staff) remained at their schools long after they were dismissed early, as bus transportation was delayed due to bad road conditions. 

When announcing late Tuesday afternoon that Cobb schools would be closed on Wednesday, district officials did not acknowledge those delays.

But parents complained on the Cobb school district Facebook page that school officials waited too long to release students and perhaps should not have had school at all on Tuesday, a concern that has been echoed by parents across the metro area. 

Around 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, Cobb schools did send out this message: 

"Severe weather and traffic conditions continue to impact student transportation in several areas of Cobb County. Bus drivers will do their best to deliver students home. If road conditions do not allow students to deliver to their normal stops, students will be returned to school under supervision."

At Marietta City Schools, officials cancelled bus service and asked parents to pick their children up at schools. 

As in Cobb, Marietta schools will be closed on Wednesday for students and all staff. 

Road crews to work overnight

Cobb County Government spokesman Robert Quigley said late Tuesday afternoon that there were no specific reports of road closings in Cobb. 

Patch received notes from readers about a possible closing of the bridge over the Chattahoochee River on Johnson Ferry Road between East Cobb and Sandy Springs because it was iced over. A Patch reader reported that his wife had been stuck in traffic for six hours trying to make her way from Perimeter Center to East Cobb.

He said she saw a police cruiser and a plow and gravel truck on the "wrong side of JF down toward the bridge."

Later, one northbound lane on Johnson Ferry had opened to traffic. 

Quigley said that crews have been out most of the day, since the storms began mid-Tuesday morning, and that they will be working well into the night to make roads passable. 

Cobb has nine pieces of heavy equipment, including gravel and salt spreaders. 

The Cobb Board of Commissioners postponed a scheduled work session and regular meeting on Tuesday.

At 7:30 p.m., Cobb government announced weather-related closings for Wednesday:

  • County government offices open at 12
  • CCT express service cancelled
  • Cobb Juvenile Court closed all day
  • Cobb Senior Services transportation cancelled
  • Cobb Superior Court closed all day

What to do if you need help

Also late Tuesday, the Cobb Fire Department announced it is offering shelter in fire stations for motorists who may be stranded and without heat. Call 911 to report your location.

The Marietta Police and Fire Departments said that motorists stranded within city limits should try to get their vehicles out of the roadway. They should call 770-794-5334 (not 911) for police officers to "get to you as soon as they can to take you to a shelter site."

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