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Posted: January 29, 2014 12:21 p.m.

Tales from the snowstorm

Photo by Tyler Smith/

Our former webmaster Tyler Smith took this photo of standstill traffic on 285 in Atlanta (the photo was taken on Powers Ferry Road). Smith was on the road for 10 hours before parking at a gas station and crashing at the home of a friend of family ...

Our former webmaster Tyler Smith tells his story of getting stranded in the Atlanta snow (the story had to be typed on a cell phone).

The snow began falling around noon at my Dunwoody office.

I finished what I was working on and started my trek home around 12:45 p.m., thinking my normal 40-minute trip would take longer than average, but that I would be home in a few hours…

My normal 18-mile route starts on 285, before exiting in Cobb County and taking fairly major roads the rest of the way. After taking an hour to move about a mile on 285, I checked Google Maps on my phone, which directed me to exit and take side streets the rest of the way.

In hindsight, that was probably a mistake.

The first intersection off the exit ramp was at a standstill. At this point, the roads were not iced over and snow was just beginning to stick. After 45 minutes, I was able to clear the first intersection and take my next turn.

I never saw what was causing the issue, which would become a reoccurring theme for the trip.

Two hours, two miles and several side streets later, I missed a turn that the GPS incorrectly labeled.

“No big deal,” I thought; “It will reroute me.”

A quarter of a mile later, I hit standstill traffic again. This time, the road ahead was blocked and people were heading back the way I had just come. I followed suit, but soon had to come to a stop on a slight hill.

That's when things literally started to go downhill.

My wheels spun on the ice, unable to gain any traction. My SUV slid backwards slightly as I gave it gas. Thankfully I was able to break just before sliding back into the work truck behind me, which was also stuck.

Now I was beginning to get scared.

A few minutes later, a fireman showed up on the scene and helped organize people to push cars up the hill. I helped with several cars in front of me and those stuck behind me helped push mine.

A few minutes later, I made it to Powers Ferry Road, where I would sit for the next three hours. When I finally made it to the nearest intersection, I was able to pull into a gas station and park.

I prepared to hunker down for the night.

A nearby CVS was still open. They were sold out of blankets, but I managed to snag some extra socks and a pair of women's leggings. I also grabbed some chips and a bottle of water.

By the time I got back to my car, the road near the gas station was covered with slick ice. Every vehicle, including a semi truck, spun out on the hill leading to the intersection.

My wife and extended family frantically called nearby hotels and put out the word through social media looking for somewhere for me to spend the night.

Miraculously, the sister in law of a friend of my wife’s sister – convoluted, I know – heard of my plight and volunteered her couch for the night.

I trekked the mile to her house and ended my day-long ordeal at 10:50 p.m., thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Today, my SUV is still stuck, but I am about to walk to a midpoint where my wife should be able to pick me up.

Update on the status of my SUV to follow.

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