Three inches of snow may not sound like enough to shut down an entire big city, but it is quite enough when that city is Atlanta and the storm is, as the governor of Georgia said last night, "unexpected." Drivers trying to get home from work spent as long as nine hours on the roads, which eventually iced over when temperatures dropped. The Wall Street Journal reports many roads were still gridlocked at midnight. Some kids even spent the night at school when buses weren't able to get them home, while other drivers spent the night in churches, fire stations, strangers' homes, and supermarkets. The governor and Atlanta's mayor admitted errors in the state's response to Winter Storm Leon, partially because it had been expected to hit more to the south.
Workers are trying to clear the roads as quickly as possible (military Humvees are even being used, reports the AP), but with many abandoned cars, that's a difficult job. "It was like The Walking Dead out there," says one man who left his car in a parking lot after more than five hours on the road last night and walked more than 6 miles to his house. "People were abandoning their vehicles and walking everywhere." Birmingham was also brought to a standstill by the storm, and many other parts of the South were impacted. Though there's no exact word yet on numbers, the AP reports that there were hundreds of car accidents across the region with some fatalities. And don't expect relief: "Today will be just as bad as yesterday in terms of the state of the roads," a meteorologist tells NBC News. (One nice story: A baby was safely born in one of the icy Atlanta traffic jams.)