Could Atlanta Face Another Ice Apocalypse?

Southern metropolis tapdances on the edge of a barometer needle.

byJonathan Schultz| PUBLISHED Jan 20, 2016 10:25 PM
Could Atlanta Face Another Ice Apocalypse?

The gridlock was interminable on Jan. 29, 2014. Eight hours. Ten hours. Twelve hours. Cars and trucks standing end to end on Interstate 285, quite literally frozen in place, unable to advance. And why? Because 2.6 inches of lousy, stinkin’ frozen precipitation fell where it historically had no business falling. Yet such are the vagaries of a warming planet, and such is the chilly hell that may yet revisit Hotlanta as a winter storm system marches up the East Coast. Forecasters have the Georgia metropolis teetering on the snow/rain divide late Wednesday into Thursday. Y’all in a bettin’ mood, Falcons fans?

North Georgia is under a winter storm warning through Thursday, as Winter Storm Jonas bears down on the southeastern states. Baltimore and Washington are also on the hook, but those are cities with phalanxes of snow-removal equipment: big, Walmart parking lot-clearing rigs that can be mobilized at the slightest hint of a snowflake. Atlanta? Rewind to Jan. 29, 2014, when the city’s leadership decided, in the words of the New York Times, to “gamble” on their ability to keep the city moving, despite having virtually no snow- or ice-removal equipment in its sanitation-vehicle fleet. As the photos on this page show, that’s not so easily done.

Granted, an icemageddon is not a foregone conclusion. And with air temps forecasted to warm overnight into Friday, any precip that stuck would make a quick retreat before the weekend—unlike that misery-making day two years ago.

Maybe the biggest question we’re left with is… why o why Jonas?

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