South still reeling from snowstorm

ATLANTA (AP) — Downtown Atlanta remains largely shut down, a day after a rare winter storm stranded workers at their jobs and students at their schools.

Most Atlanta businesses are closed, and officials are encouraging motorists to stay off the roads. City buses haven't been running. Along a dozen lanes of the Downtown Connector shortly before dawn, a sea of red brake lights remained at a standstill.

The storm deposited just inches of snow, but it was more than enough to paralyze southern cities such as Atlanta and Birmingham. Overnight, there were fatal crashes and hundreds of fender-benders. Jackknifed 18-wheelers littered Interstate 65 in central Alabama.

Some commuters pleaded for help on their cellphones while still holed up in their cars. Others walked miles to get home, abandoning their vehicles. One woman spent 12 hours stuck in her car near Birmingham before a firefighter used a ladder to help her cross the median wall. A shuttle bus took her to a hotel where about 20 other stranded motorists spent the night in a conference room. Linda Moore said she was glad she didn't have to spend the night on the highway, but she says others did.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto the Atlanta's snarled freeways this morning to try to move stranded school buses and deliver food and water. State Patrol troopers headed to schools where children spent the night.

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168-a-09-(Karlene Barron, spokeswoman, Georgia Department of Transportation, in AP interview)-"the Perimeter Highway"-Karlene Barron, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, says many motorists are stuck behind jackknifed tractor-trailers, and have been on the highway since last night. ((watch for dating)) (29 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *168 (01/29/14)££ 00:09 "the Perimeter Highway"

099-a-09-(Jamie Brendemuehl (BREHN'-duh-mehl), stranded motorist, in AP interview Wednesday morning)-"a free meal"-Jamie Brendemuehl says the hospital staff is doing a wonderful job of taking care of stranded motorists who sought shelter there. (29 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *099 (01/29/14)££ 00:09 "a free meal"

047-a-12-(Governor Nathan Deal, R-Ga., at news conference)-"we possibly can"-Georgia Governor Nathan Deal says he's working with local law enforcement to secure schools where children and their teachers are stranded. COURTESY: WSB TV ((mandatory on-air credit)) Updated: 01/29/2014-05:46:25 AM ET (29 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *047 (01/29/14)££ 00:12 "we possibly can"

GRAPHICSBANK: Man stands on frozen road as he waits for traffic to clear on Interstate 75, Macon, Georgia, graphic element on gray (29 Jan 2014)

APPHOTO ALBD107: Sydney Jaffe, left, and Peyton Meadors, right, play a card game with others students stranded at Oak Mountain Intermediate school on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Indian Springs, Ala. About 80 children and 20 adults spent the night at the school due to a winter storm. Tuesday's storm deposited mere inches of snow, barely enough to qualify as a storm up North. And yet it was more than enough to paralyze the Deep South. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) (29 Jan 2014)

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APPHOTO TNKNN101: A fog rises off the Tennessee River, that partially obscures a view of downtown Knoxville, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Appalachian Power is asking its customers in Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to conserve electricity during the latest cold snap. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel, J. Miles Cary) (29 Jan 2014)

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