Atlanta snow | Minute-by-minute updates on winter storm




Channel 2 Action News has a dozen reporters and photographers spread across Georgia to track the snow Tuesday. Much of the state is under a winter storm watch or warning. There are numerous reports of accidents on roads in Georgia as snow and ice develop.

8:40 a.m. - Meteorologist David Chandley says we'll struggle to reach the freezing point today. It's 12 degrees just before 9 a.m. Check out these hour-by-hour temperature maps.

8:20 a.m. - Chief photographer Tony Light captures a long line of trucks jammed on I-20. The tractor-trailers are blocking the entrance ramps to I-75/85 north and south.

8:05 a.m. - Channel 2's Rachel Stockman talks to a father who walked six miles to E. Rivers Elementary to spend the night with his daughter. 150 people sent the night at the northwest Atlanta school. 

7:50 a.m. - Matthew Miller is on I-75 near Turner Field handing out food to stranded motorists. He packed PB&Js, cereal and hot cocoa for anyone who needs it.

Photo: GOOD SAMARITAN: Matthew Miller is on I-75 near Turner Field handing out food to stranded motorists. He packed PB&Js, cereal and hot cocoa for anyone who needs it.  “I saw on Facebook people had been out here for 18 hours…so I just thought I’d try to help out any way I could,” Miller said.  We think Miller definitely deserves a LIKE. #wsbtv #stormwatchon2

7:45 a.m. - NewsChopper 2 flies over I-285 near Powers Ferry where tractor-trailers have blocked both sides of the perimeter. Traffic remains at a standstill.

7:33 a.m. - NewsChopper 2 is up for the first time since the snow hit Atlanta. Channel 2's Jason Durden shows multiple trucks jack-knifed on I-75 in northwest Atlanta, making it very difficult for any traffic to get past.

7:24 a.m. - GDOT is hearing reports that three to four school buses loaded with kids are stuck on I-285 at Cascade Road. “We were definitely pushing to get to that,” spokeswoman Karlene Barron said.

The Downtown Connector has been treated multiple times and is passable. The issue now is large trucks and tractor-trailers on slight grades/hills can’t get going because they can’t get traction, according to GDOT’s chief engineer Russell McMurry.

At the Downtown Connector at I-20 West, there are two trucks side by side that are stuck on the interstate. That is causing a backup on the Downtown Connector and on I-20 West on the east side of the city. GDOT is working to clear them.

7:15 a.m. - Channel 2's Richard Elliot sees a driver spinout on Georgia 400 while live on the air. The vehicle spins around several times, drives the wrong direction and then stops facing the wall. 

7:01 a.m. - Triple Team Traffic's Mark Arum reports Johnson Ferry Road remains blocked at the Chattahoochee River. All lanes of I-85 are closed near GA 400 and on-ramps to GA 400 in Sandy Springs are being blocked by police.

6:45 a.m. - Meteorologist Karen Minton says temperatures will remain below freezing for the remainder of the day, but the sun will be out all day.

6:25 a.m. - Steve Smith, assistant superintendant of Atlanta Public Schools tells Channel 2 Action News that just two students are left on one bus. Students are primarily sheltered at schools in the northern and western region of the district, Smith said.

6:04 a.m. - Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri reports there has been no movement in northwest Atlanta where cars an entire parking lot is filled with cars that could not make it up the interstate.

5:50 a.m. - MARTA reports that bus and rail service will not resume until 10 a.m.

5:34 a.m. - Channel 2's Sophia Choi reports that no traffic is moving on the downtown connector at her location near Pryor Street.

5:18 a.m. - Atlanta Public Schools reports that they are down to just 5 students still in transit from school to home. The children have been in buses overnight. Channel 2's Richard Elliot found a stranded APS bus with no students but an exhausted driver.

5:02 a.m. - Channel 2's Richard Elliot reports it took 30 minutes to travel on I-75 northbound from Moore's Mill to Northside Parkway. That's one exit.

4:44 a.m. - Channel 2's Richard Elliot is travelling again in StormChaser 2. He reports dozens of abandoned vehicles on I-75 north at Moore's Mill. Watch his travels live here.

4:30 a.m.: David Chandley says wind will make it feel like single-digits today, but will hopefully help evaporate the moisture as the sun melts ice on the roads later today. Driving conditions remain dangerous and drivers are urged to stay home if possible.

4:00 a.m.: Watch Karen Minton's latest forecast here. 

3:07 a.m.: Many area stores have opened their doors to take in stranded drivers. Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri sent in this photo of drivers and some employees taking shelter in the Publix grocery store on W. Paces Ferry Road.

1:35 a.m.: Update from GDOT: Numerous roads throughout the state are temporarily unpassable, including Interstate Highway 75/85 (The Atlanta Downtown Connector) southbound at Fulton Street, Interstate Highway 20 westbound at the Connector, Interstate Highway 85 southbound in Gwinnett County at Hamilton Mill Road, numerous Interstate 75 entrance and exit ramps in Cobb County, north and southbound I-75 in Bartow County at State Route 20, Interstate Highway 575 northbound in Cherokee County at Cumming Highway, Interstate Highway 985 southbound in Hall County at State Route 129, Interstate 75 SB between mile markers 199 and 201 in Butts and Lamar Counties, SR 155 at SR 42 in Henry County, Interstate Highway 20 westbound in Richmond County, State Route 16 at the Spalding/Coweta counties line; State Route 141 north and southbound in Gwinnett County, State Route 9 north and southbound in Forsyth County, State Route 164 east and westbound in Banks County, State Route 120 eastbound in Haralson County, State Route 61 in Carroll County, State Route 36 near Nelson Drive in Upson County, State Route 49 at State Route 42 in Peach County, State Route 156 east and west bound in Gordon County, portions of State Routes 14, 38 and 92 in Fulton County.  Crews are working at all locations.   

12:40 a.m.: GDOT says they are investigating a 20-car pile-up on US 78 Eastbound past Hugh Howell Rd. All lanes are blocked.

11:50 p.m.: The City of Smyrna has opened the Community Center at 200 Village Green Cir, Smyrna, GA for those stranded in the area.

11:43 p.m.: Gov. Deal says the National Guard is being called in to help stranded motorists.

11:06 p.m.: As of 9 p.m., the Georgia State Patrol has been called to investigate 940 traffic crashes since 10 a.m. today.  The crashes have resulted in 104 injuries. One of the crashes from this afternoon is now a fatal crash.

10:51 p.m.: Due to inclement weather, Forsyth County government offices will be closed Wednesday, January 29. This closure includes county government offices, the Forsyth County Courthouse, Senior Services, and Forsyth County Parks and Recreation’s indoor facilities. All Parks and Recreation programs and activities are cancelled Wednesday.

10:34 p.m.: Atlanta Public Schools has called an emergency shelter in place for all students and staff who remain in schools due to inclement weather and adverse road conditions. We will continue to transport students who are already enroute on buses, and parents will still be permitted to pick up students. For students who are sheltered in our schools, we will ensure proper security, supervision, and food. District leadership will continue to monitor the weather to provide additional updates.

10:28 p.m.: Georgia Department of Transportation released a statement on the traffic back-ups due to the winter weather: “We understand the frustration of so many thousands of Georgians who were or remain stuck in traffic,” Georgia DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said.  “We regret their inconvenience and ask for their patience.  So many locations and schools closed at the same time, the system was simply overwhelmed with traffic.  That, in turn, has affected our ability to get equipment to areas that need treatment.  Please understand, this is an emergency; do not abandon your vehicle on the roadway or use the shoulder lanes for travel; emergency vehicles need those shoulders to get to roadways needing treatment and to respond to incidents.  We are working hard to keep roads passable through the night.  We plead with motorists to remain home Wednesday morning until at least well after sunrise. and refrain from driving at all unless required by an emergency.  Black ice could pose a significant risk throughout much of Georgia.”

10:14 p.m.: Drivers are advised to avoid the length of Old Alabama and State Bridge roads in Johns Creek. Passage is blocked in places by stranded vehicles and ice. Public Works and emergency vehicles are on the scene.

10:06 p.m.: Meteorologist Brad Nitz says temperatures will be around 17 in Atlanta Wednesday. The high temperature will only reach 30 degrees during the day.

10:02 p.m.: Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns says the winter storm warning remains in effect until 7 a.m. Wednesday due to icy roads. Travel will be extremely treacherous around local roads.

9:54 p.m.: The city of Alpharetta is opening its community center for those simply needing a warm place to stay until conditions improve. The address is 175 Roswell Street, Alpharetta. The city says public works staff continue to aggressively sand our roadways with tons of sand in an effort to improve roadway travel.

9:39 p.m.: DeKalb County CEO issues state of emergency for the county. County administrative offices, including Parks and Recreation facilities, Senior Centers, water billing offices, Recorders Court and other administrative divisions will be closed Wednesday and report at normal business hours on Thursday morning.

9:26 p.m.: Sandy Springs roads are "literally not moving," according to city official Graham McDonald. The City's Emergency Operations Center (with police, fire, emergency representatives, public works, etc.) is open.  The 24/7 call center (770 730-5600) is on alert and citizens are encouraged to call in with any issues requiring city response.

8:56 p.m.: Snow and ice on roads near Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta:

8:41 p.m.: Delta airlines spokesperson Eric Torbenson said they had about 1,100 cancellations nationwide today and the majority where at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. He said so far they have between 40-60 cancellations for Wednesday. He said the majority are early morning flights.

8:32 p.m.: Channel 2 viewer Eric Bostrom says he been stuck on the road for over 8 hours while traveling East Cobb along Cobb Parkway. He still has 6 miles to go.

8:18 p.m.: Meteorologist Brad Nitz says the snow is tapering for the city of Atlanta. South of the city should see snow ending in the next hour.

8:13 p.m.: Streets and roadways throughout Alpharetta and the surrounding area continue to experience high traffic volumes, gridlocking most locations. The City of Alpharetta urges everyone not currently on the road to stay where you are.

7:44 p.m.: Current conditions around the state:

7:32 p.m.: The snow is tapering off in areas north of Atlanta.

6:57 p.m.: Georgia DOT urges drivers to stay off the roadways. Dangerous driving conditions are spreading throughout the State.  Department of Transportation crews are active throughout affected areas but Georgia DOT is urging drivers to stay off of highways as conditions continue to deteriorate throughout the evening. 

6:51 p.m.: DOT cam of Interstate 75 North at West Paces Ferry Road:

6:43 p.m.: Abbotts Bridge Road in Johns Creek has reopened.

6:26 p.m.: Traffic in much of Johns Creek remains heavy because of accidents, abandoned vehicles, struggling to drive up icy hills, and sheer volume of vehicles. The city of Johns Creek has four spreader trucks in service. Additional Public Works crews are being called in, and extra police are on duty.

6:20 p.m.: Channel 2's Aaron Diamant reports minor crashes in Covington a Highway 278. Emergency crews are on the scene de-icing some of the roads.

6:09 p.m.:  Baby born on I-285 due to icy road conditions.

6:05 p.m.: DeKalb County schools have been canceled for Wednesday.

5:59 p.m.: Snow is beginning in Madison and Eatonton after light rain and sleet.

5:46 p.m.: Erica Byfield reports a vacant house caught fire on Wesley Club in DeKalb County amid the snow Tuesday.

5:37 p.m.: VIDEO: Atlanta Mayor Reed pleading with people to stay home.

5:36 p.m.: Paulding County schools closed Wednesday.

5:33 p.m.: Meteorologist Brad Nitz says highs will stay below freezing Wednesday.

5:17 p.m.: Channel 2's Tony Thomas in Lawrenceville says many drivers are staying off 316.

5:08 p.m.: Georgia Gov. Deal declares state of emergency amid winter storm.

5:00 p.m.: Updated full list of school closures for Wednesday.

4:49 p.m. Captain Herb Emory reports a drive time of two hours to get from Buckhed to the airport.

4:39 p.m.: Channel 2's Fred Blankenship and meteorologists David Chandley and Karen Minton are still at the station -- they've been here since 2:30 a.m.:

4:30 p.m.: All Cobb County schools and facilities will be closed Wednesday, Jan. 29. Staff are not being asked to report.

4:27 p.m.: Update from Glenn Burns:

4:19 p.m.: Channel 2's Tom Jones in Clayton County says snow is relentless, causing a mushy mess. Jones said a pregnant woman was involved in a crash, but suffered only minor injuries.

4:04 p.m.: Meteorologist Brad Nitz said the steady snow will continue through 8 p.m. and it will gradually taper off. There is a widespread total of 1 to 2 inches of snow in metro Atlanta.

3:57 p.m.: Icy mess on Paces Ferry Road in Vinings from reporter Richard Elliot:

3:37 p.m.: Channel 2’s Richard Belcher reports hundreds of flights delayed or canceled at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Tuesday. De-icers are being used to clear the runways.  

3:31 p.m.: Wreck in Troup County near West Point from Channel 2's Tom Regan. No reports of injuries.

3:23 p.m.: According to Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman says Douglas County emergency crews are working more than 200 accidents. Those in an accident and are not seriously injured, will not be responded to right now by emergency crews because they are focusing on injury accidents. If you are in a non-injury accident, you’re urged to call a tow truck.

3:06 p.m.: Cherokee County schools has temporarily suspended bus service until the roads are safely passable. Students who are at school will remain there safely; a parent or guardian can pick their child up if they are able to travel. Schools will be in direct communication with parents of those students still in their care and are prepared to shelter students as necessary this evening. School buses currently in service on a route will be attempting to complete those routes and deliver students.

2:59 p.m.: Jammed-packed interstate in Downtown Atlanta, photo from AJC photographer John Spink: