ATLANTA—The cultural capital of the Southeast remained paralyzed for a fourth day on Thursday, Jan. 13. Despite the motto “Neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night, keeps us from our appointed rounds,” the postal service did not deliver mail all week.
Trash collection was suspended, schools remained closed, newspapers were not delivered, flights were canceled, and the Hawks basketball team postponed its match with the Milwaukee Bucks to March 15. Trucks remain stranded on icy highways, and few streets were clear. At least 270 school and other closings and delays were reported to WSB TV on Thursday.
Mayor Kasim Reed defended the city’s response in a statement. He and new governor Nathan Deal have been criticized for not clearing the roads.
“In one of the worst snow storms in a decade, we have expanded our fleet from 10 to 58 pieces of equipment and have been coordinating seamlessly across City departments and partnering with other jurisdictions to keep our streets safe,” he said.
Reed said the city had been working to clear main arteries, which are normally the responsibility of the state. Because snow and ice are uncommon, the city and state do not maintain much ice or snow clearing equipment.
The snow which fell Sunday and Monday melted slightly, and then froze into dense sheets of ice. A thaw is expected on Friday, Jan. 14, according to the National Weather Service.
Many residents approached the shutdown with joie de vivre. In a residential neighborhood, adults and children used the tops of county recycling bins as sleds. A boy threw himself on a small styrofoam surfboard to sled down a sloping yard. Dog owners threw snowballs for their pets to catch. A father towed his sons along an icy street, using a sled.
Senior Citizen Services of Metropolitan Atlanta, Inc. was still able to deliver food to elderly and ill people. “We put out a Facebook and Twitter plea asking for extra volunteers and some news agencies picked it up,” Steven Hargrove said.
”We were able to staff our deliveries. Some of our regular volunteers and some people who had never volunteered with us before,” took care of the emergency. None of their clients were left hungry, he said.
The agency had delivered extra, shelf stable food supplies before the storm, but because the event lasted so long, volunteers were still needed. Open Hand, the largest meal delivering charity in the country, also sent a plea for help. It said it was in dire need of volunteers with vehicles able to handle the ice.