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#SnowJam2014: Atlanta Facebook group highlights panic, heroes

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What would seem like just a dusting of snow for most of the rest of the country has shut down the city of Atlanta. The Atlanta snow "storm" left semi-trucks jack-knifed, cars overturned, freeways blocked and people stranded.

Students were forced to spend the night in schools because they were unable to get home.

Al Roker explained on The Today Show that the city of Atlanta "didn't want to spend the money they needed to" to pre-treat the roads. Roker called it "poor planning on the mayor's part and the governor's part ... people are still suffering ... the roads are gridlocked ... it's a shame, it really is."

A Facebook group has emerged called SnowedOutAtlanta with over 40,000 members where people are posting everything from tips to places where you can get food and water.

For people stranded near certain landmarks, there are people posting in the group what is open and where people can seek help and shelter.

Courtney Jernigan writes:

CHURCH OF THE APOSTLES SHELTER. If you are in the area around West Paces Ferry Road & I-75, you are invited to take shelter at The Church of The Apostles.

Some individuals have taken it upon themselves to go out and help those stranded.

Holly Kuntz writes:

I am at 285/ West Paces Ferry exit with food, water & phone charger if anyone is in need. I am on foot so please be very specific where you are located.

Of course, there are pregnant women, those with diabetes, and others who are frail but were stuck in their cars overnight.

Michelle Caubo-Curran asked for help for her co-worker:

Austell / Six Flags area. Co-worker (8 months pregnant) with her 2 children stuck on Thornton Rd between Douglas hill Rd and Riverside Parkway SW. We cannot get a tow truck to her, and she cannot walk on the ice due to pregnancy. Any help would be appreciated. Her name is Cheryl. 678-***-****

When people post, area residents are commenting and assisting as they can. This post by Kristie Bartlett received over 30 comments:

My son is on 285 at the Riverside exit. Been there for 18 hours. No gas, no food. Any suggestions?

Bartlett's son isn't the only one who has been stuck for hours. Ivica Tvrtko writes:

My wife is stuck on I-20 around 6 flags drive. She is thirsty and totally tired (she is in the car from NOON yesterday). She decided to turn off the car and to sleep on the rear seat. If you are in the area, please give her at least bottle of water or something to drink. She said it's too far to walk to QT on 6 Flags drive. I called 911 they said they will send HERO. But, that was 2 hours ago. Nothing was happen. Her cell phone battery is dying...She said everyone is doing the same - turn of the lights, engine and trying to sleep... I am worried, she would freeze until morning in that GREEN JEEP CHEROKEE.

There are many people like David Staples who are offering to help:

I'm out driving around Thornton Rd at I20 in a 4x4 Jeep if anyone is stuck or in danger. 678-***-****

Basic aid stations are being left along the side of the road, as Stephanie Reynolds explains:

Cooler with food was left here. I added some water. At the on ramp to 75N from Windy Hill.

With some stuck since Tuesday morning or early afternoon, time is running out to help. Rita Patel shares:

I have a sister stranded for 20 hrs now n she can't feel her finger. She's stuck on 285 paces ferry rd. please help. Any help will be greatly appreciated. We can return blankets or replace them. Please help

This incident is an unfortunate, frightening and crude, but a perfect example of how government gets it wrong. Individuals cannot rely on the local government to get it right. Citizens must use good judgement, and plan ahead based on the weather forecasts.

Of course, not all of these circumstances could have been avoided by the people involved in them -- perhaps none of them could. But the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia apparently failed to take the appropriate action to warn residents, make the roads safe or be certain that all involved could travel home safely. Without provisions and prior planning, the desperate situation in Atlanta is what can result.

There is still a long winter ahead. After all of these lives are hopefully saved by the brave citizens taking it upon themselves to lend a hand, take a moment and be sure your automobile has what you would need to survive stranded for at least 24 hours. And, heed the weather forecasts, regardless of what some politician says.

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