Rare snow storm leaves drivers stranded in South

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Horrific Atlanta Commute(CNN) — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday defended his government’s handing of a snow shower that crippled traffic and left motorists stranded for hours a day earlier, and laid part of the blame on local businesses, saying they contributed to the gridlock by letting workers leave at the same time.

Schools and businesses, he said, let people go at roughly the same time early Tuesday afternoon as the snow was starting. That was too much for the roads to handle, he said.

“I said immediately yesterday that releasing all of these folks was not the right way to go,” Reed said in a sometimes testy exchange with CNN’s Carol Costello on “CNN Newsroom” Wednesday morning. “… If I had my druthers, we would have staggered the closures.”

Roughly 2 inches of snow left the roads icy, making virtual parking lots out of roads and highways. Many people, including students on school buses, were stranded in vehicles overnight.

Reed said Wednesday that city crews started treating roads before the snow fell. He said the road treatment has been better than January 2011, when “the city was closed for two to three days” because of a winter storm.

“The city didn’t even have snow equipment in the last storm,” Reed said. Now, he said, the city has a fleet of 30 spreaders and 40 snowplows, and a crew that has “been working nonstop in 12-hour shifts.”

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