A Chair for a Bed, Amid Sleeping Children

By Dow Jones Business News, 
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By Josh Dawsey

Eight hours after leaving work Tuesday, LouAnn McClure was 4 miles from her office at an employment benefits firm outside Atlanta.

Roads were blocked with barricades, impassable because of the snow. She tried several routes other than her usual commute--Roswell Road--but traffic was just as treacherous.

Cars had collided everywhere, she said, and emergency vehicles were struggling to manage the traffic and arrive on scene. Cars were spinning out and couldn't get up hills. Others ran out of gas, stopping in the middle of the road and blocking traffic. Hundreds had abandoned their vehicles along the side of the highway. Lines at gas stations were several deep to every pump.

Ms. McClure said the area's few plows couldn't make it to the roads because of the traffic.

"When it started snowing, everyone started leaving work all at the same time," she said. "Everyone was frightened of the roads. They were horrible. I just sat and sat and sat for hours."

Ms. McClure tried to make it to a Home Depot, which was serving as a makeshift shelter. Her son also put out a Facebook message, asking if anyone could help his mom. Around 11 p.m., she saw Woodland Elementary School and pulled in, knowing that children were spending the night there. The principal welcomed her, and she slept sitting up in a chair.

"When the sun rose, I got up and got home in an hour or so," she said. Ms. McClure said she had slept much of Wednesday. "It was unbelievable how shut down everything was."

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  01-29-141913ET
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