There’s still ice on the roads and the temperature’s not going to climb much above freezing today, but authorities in Atlanta want to start reuniting drivers with the hundreds of vehicles that were abandoned on highways during the winter storm that blew through Tuesday.
As we reported, Tuesday’s “rush hour from hell” in Atlanta extended well into Wednesday as ice-covered highways and traffic came to a standstill. Many drivers just gave up and walked home or to find shelter where they could — many in stores and other establishments that opened their doors to those in need.
There’s some blame being apportioned. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has said authorities may have been unprepared because the storm was “unexpected.” Weather forecasters have pointed out that they were warning about what could happen in the Atlanta area more than 24 hours before the storm hit.
Now, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, there’s a plan for getting car owners back to their vehicles and then getting those cars off the highways. Crews will be helping out with gas, jumper cables and transportation:
“If you left your vehicle on an Atlanta interstate, you’ll need to head to one of two spots Thursday at 10 a.m. so various state agencies can get people back to their vehicles, a Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman said late Wednesday.
“People who left their vehicles on I-20 and I-285 west should report to the Westlake MARTA station (parking area), 80 Anderson Ave. SW, Atlanta. Those who left their vehicles on I-75, the top end of I-285 and the Downtown Connector (I-75/I-85) should report to Mount Paran Church (parking area), 2055 Mount Paran Road, Atlanta.
” ‘We’re bringing the gas and we’re bringing the energy (to recharge dead batteries),’ Natalie Dale, GDOT spokeswoman, told Channel 2 Action News. ‘You bring your keys and your driver’s license.’ ”
Some drivers may find that their cars were towed away. They’ll need to contact the local police.
The hassle of retrieving cars, of course, does not compare with the grief some families are feeling after this week’s deep freeze in the Deep South. The Associated Press says the storm contributed “to at least a dozen deaths from traffic accidents and a mobile home fire.”
In Alabama alone, according to The Birmingham News, “authorities have announced that five people are dead and at least 23 injured as a result of the winter storm.”
The National Weather Service says it should be sunny in Atlanta today, with a high of 38 degrees. It should be sunny in Birmingham too, with a high of 43 degrees. Both cities should hit 50 degrees on Friday.