Snowed Out Atlanta: A Night in the Shelter

Last night I left my office to go home at about 12:30 in the afternoon. Seven hours later I had traveled 3 miles. I stopped at Firehouse Subs in Sandy Springs only to meet some of my fellow stranded Atlantans.

We ate dinner at Firehouse watching as cars inched forward on Roswell Road for over an hour. I decided not to get back into traffic going and resume my .5 MPH pace.

I figured I would sleep in my car, but my wife had other ideas. She was not going to worry about her stranded husband all night sleeping in his car. Thankfully, while talking to my wife, my Sunday school teacher sent me a text with the address to a Sandy Springs shelter.

The shelter was sponsored by Red Cross-the Hammond Park gymnasium turned into an overnight bunker. The shelter was only a mile away. When I arrived there was about 20 of us and people continue to pour in through the night. By morning there was about one hundred of us sleeping, wrapped in Red Cross blankets.

I kept up with those stranded on the Atlanta roads through social media. Well glad to find a shelter I understand they were schoolchildren stuck in buses and many drivers stuck on the roads. I prayed for them throughout the night.

I met some nice people in the shelter. I also met at least one fellow Christian and we had a great conversation on apologetics. I also met several people who needed an iPhone 5 charger as I seemed to be the only person in the who had one. I was glad to share.

Social media came through again as I was able to help a freezing lady to the shelter through the new Facebook group SnowedOutAtlanta. At some point in the middle of the night, two ladies came in and laid on the floor so I offered them my place on the matt. I’m glad they took my offer.

All things considered it was a good night though I was very concerned for the people stuck on the roadways. A big thank you to the Sandy Springs Police Department and Red Cross.

The whole situation reminds me not to take God’s daily graces for granted. Though I’m sure again that I will take them for granted, but thankfully He is not short on grace.

As I write this on my iPhone from the shelter I’m not sure if I’ll get home today. Either way God’s grace is sufficient.

Here I blog…

p.s. Updated: I made it home around 3 pm Wednesday, January 29. I even posted a few pictures from my drive home – Pictures: Atlanta Snow Storm Abandoned Vehicles.

p.p.s. A huge thank you to all the first responders who worked tirelessly to help everyone fighting through this unusual Atlanta snow storm. I pray they will get to be with their families soon.

p.p.p.s. A big thank you to all the folks at WSB radio (and TV) for all their hard work keeping us updated about weather and driving conditions, etc. I understand many WSB employees slept on office floors – some may not have slept at all – to keep the the public informed about storm conditions.

p.p.p.p.s. My wife asked a friend of ours to make an “I survived” t-shirt about the Atlanta snow storm, so she did: “I Survived the Georgia Gridlock Blizzard January 2014.”

Let's connect!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer McSparin (@mcjennn) January 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Praying you and everyone else can get home safely by tonight.

2 Susan Miller January 29, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Hi Mark….Those Sandy Springs Fire Departments are so special. In 2009 they were called to my folks home in Dunwoody. They resuscitated my father so his children could get home in time to be with him when he passed away. One of the Firefighters (his name was Steve) called us to see if my father had made it. I am still so grateful to that crew. Stay safe and warm and thanks for sharing.

3 Mark Lamprecht January 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Jennifer, thanks so much for all your prayers!

Susan, thank you for the comment and sharing that sad, but amazing story.

4 Carla Rolfe January 29, 2014 at 9:09 pm

This made me cry reading it, but also made me remember how merciful our Lord is, and how many blessings are right before us, even when we can’t see them at first. I was happy to create the t-shirt for all the “survivors”. It’s most certainly an event to remember and be thankful for!!

5 Katie February 3, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I met you that night! I’m Katie, the girl with her hiking poles. Thanks again for lending me your charger. Glad to see you made it home safely!

6 Katie February 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Oh! And I asked family and friends to make donations to the Red Cross after that. The total donations was $130 coming from six states and a two countries. Had to give back!


7 Mark Lamprecht February 4, 2014 at 9:11 am

Hi Katie, thanks for stopping by. You were more than welcome to use the charger. What a great idea for helping Red Cross too!


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