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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snowmageddon '14


Y'all it is cray-zee down here. The snowstorm yesterday will go down in the books as one of the craziest things ever to happen to the ATL.

Backtracking to yesterday morning...at 5:30am B Daddy was up and heading out the door to the gym for a morning workout to clear his head. He'd just gotten the news that his grandfather passed away Monday evening and part of the heat system in our home was suddenly not working. We were scheduled to host 10 teenage boys in our home for a church retreat this weekend. His shoulders were already weighted down with responsibilities as he pushed his garage door opener only to find it wasn't working. With a  burdened heart and a cloudy head he took my van instead and headed out. At 6:30am he got a text from me to please pick up some Sprite on his way home, we had started our day back home earlier than usual - with a sick kid hanging his head over the toilet.

By 7am he'd decided we had enough crap going on at the house to justify working from home for the day. This worked out extremely well for me, who had been planning to skip Bible study and stay at home because of our sick little guy. So off I went to Bible study with the two healthy littles at 9am.

At 12:30pm the kids and I were back from our morning out. We had been enjoying the fast falling snow on our drive and the kids were squealing to get into their snow gear. Fat snowflakes were falling all around us and I was looking forward to an afternoon of play, hot chocolate and cozying up inside with the family. This was starting to look like a grand adventure of a day.







We went for a hike around our neighborhood and threw some snowballs before the kids freaked out about the cold and the snow in their gloves and we headed home for a warm lunch. That was when I checked Instagram and saw my brother-in-law's post. He'd been sitting bumper-to-bumper for 30 minutes trying to get off the main driveway of the corporate campus where he worked. That was my first inkling that God had given us a precious gift in the form of household headaches and a little throw up that morning.




Our kids went down for their usual nap at 2pm and B Daddy and I nestled in, him doing some work and going for another just-for-fun hike and me drinking tea and catching up with the Real Housewives. At about 4:30 the kids were up and we bundled up and headed outside for more play. We knew our brother in law was still driving, trying to make it home, on hour 4 of what is normally a one hour commute. Outside we started trading stories with neighbors and hearing on Facebook and Twitter that commutes all over the city were equally horrendous. It seems that 90% of the city left their offices and began commuting home between 12:15pm and 1:15pm. Supposedly 6 million people on the roads at the same time. High ground temperatures in the south means that even on cold days snow falls and melts, then freezes... unlike up north where snow typically stays snow for much longer. The roads quickly became icy and salt trucks couldn't get out onto them because of the insanely high traffic volume and gridlock.

As we came inside for dinner, B Daddy decided to head out in his truck to try and help my bother in law who we heard had abandoned his car and was walking the last several miles home on foot...in the dark...in dress shoes. My mother (an elementary school teacher) was still at work trying to help connect kids with parents who had been on the roads for 6+ hours trying to make it to the school to pick their children up.

The kids ate dinner as I watched my social media newsfeed fill up with increasingly worrying messages.  Dozens of people we knew personally were ditching their cars all over the city and starting to walk home. Many miles. In the dark. In 20+ degree temps. This was quickly becoming surreal.

Within 45 minutes B Daddy was back home. The roads he needed to take to get towards our brother in law were blocked by police trying to prevent even more cars from getting stuck on icy hills. After the kids went to bed for the night, we saw a friend's Instagram message about her husband's horrible 8+ hour commute (he was still far from home) and realized he might be somewhere near us. After reaching out to him,  he was able to park his car and walk several miles to meet B Daddy and get to our house for the night.

The elementary school that is literally in our backyard put out a mayday for blankets and snacks for teachers and students who were still at stuck at the school at 8:30pm. A few neighbors loaded up their trucks and delivered the needed supplies and then spent the next several hours out on nearby roads helping push cars up hills and direct stranded motorists to the church that had opened as a shelter nearby. It was around this time we heard on the news that anywhere from 2,300 to 3,000 students were still at schools and daycares, their parents unable to reach them.

Friends too numerous to list left their warm homes late at night to go offer shelter to stranded motorists and food and water to those who had taken shelter in gas stations and restaurants for the night. Teachers and administrators stayed at schools all night long, getting children on buses and connected to their families. There was great kindness all over this city in the form of water bottles, hand warmers, gas canisters and open doors.

This morning the city of Atlanta is all but abandoned and the roads are literally a scene out of The Walking Dead. Cars are parked bumper to bumper along off-ramps and on every median and sidewalk near the main thoroughfares. B Daddy spent the morning driving the roads near our home, picking up strangers and getting them further down the road to their homes, their friends' homes or their stranded cars.






Kids are building snowmen and sledding not far from where the National Guard is rescuing students still trying to get off buses and get home after 24 hours of this madness. This has to have been one of the strangest days this city has ever seen.

4 comments:

  1. Seriously CRAZY! Thankful for kind folks like you all who are doing their share to help.

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    Replies
    1. So glad Justin is back home safe and sound!

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  2. that's awesome of you guys! i left at 1:30 from 17th street. it usually take 15 minutes to get to luke's school but it took me two hours. it was a complete nightmare. i can't imagine all of those that are STILL out there.

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  3. Wow. I've definitely been hearing about this on the news, but to hear it from your point of view puts a whole new added level of "real" behind it. Crazy. I'm glad your family was safe, and had the ability to help so many in need!

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