Hundreds stuck on I-65 in Cullman overnight after snow - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Hundreds stuck on I-65 in Cullman overnight after snow

Posted: Updated:
  • NEWSMore>>

  • Military Matters: Merrill's Marauders honored

    Military Matters: Merrill's Marauders honored

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-08-21 04:04:02 GMT
    Our Military Matters this week is about durability during warfare.  Merrill's Marauders is an Army unit that walked nearly 1,000 miles in search of the enemy during World War II. They were honored recentlyMore >>
    Our Military Matters this week is about durability during warfare.  Merrill's Marauders is an Army unit that walked nearly 1,000 miles in search of the enemy during World War II. They were honored recentlyMore >>
  • Race relations in Columbus among blacks and police officers

    Race relations in Columbus among blacks and police officers

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-08-21 04:03:25 GMT
    Race relations continue on a national scale as the unrest in Missouri rages on. Tuesday, we focused on how black men should conduct with police officers. News Leader 9"s Roslyn Giles is digging deeperMore >>
    Race relations continue on a national scale as the unrest in Missouri rages on. Tuesday, we focused on how black men should conduct with police officers.More >>
  • Columbus football coach aims to keep players safe amid triple digit temps

    Columbus football coach aims to keep players safe amid triple digit temps

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 03:48:05 GMT
    Health experts say the biggest danger in this extreme heat is dehydration. Coaches and trainers here at Jordan High School in Columbus are taking steps to keep their players cool starting with moving backMore >>
    High school athletes are at the highest risk of sustaining heat-related injuries. A majority of these cases are young men who play football. With temperatures nearing triple digits this week, News Leader Nine's Tyrone McCoy is at Jordan High School with what coaches and trainers are doing to beat the heat.More >>
CULLMAN, AL (WAFF) -

Hundreds of people spent a freezing night trapped on Interstate 65 in Cullman County after snow caused a series of wrecks that snarled traffic for miles.

It took almost an entire day, but the logjam on I-65 finally broke open Friday morning.

It began Thursday when the sleet and snow shut down the interstate in the Lacon Mountain area near exit 308.

Many drivers were stranded in their cars overnight, though some lucky drivers did make it to exits.

Businesses off the interstate were more than willing to serve some extra customers.

What you consider a haven could be relative to your situation. For many drivers who were stuck on Interstate 65 for hours and hours, if they could make it to a place like the Graves BP, it was like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert.

"My parking lot was packed full," said Tim Graves, BP station owner.

In Cullman County, from day into night and through the next morning, traffic on an icy and wreck-filled I-65 varied between stop and a snail-like, foot-by-foot pace.

It seemed as soon as cars started moving at all, another tractor trailer jack-knifed, shutting down any inch of progress. Some drivers were stuck for 10 hours or more.

By the time some of the lucky drivers nearer to an exit got to a gas station, they had a lot of needs.

"I think every service station out here was packed full.  People needed restrooms. They needed gas. They were thirsty, hungry. They were aggravated and they were ready to get home," said Graves.

Graves said with hotels filled for the night, some of the road-weary settled down right at the station. They kind of camped out until it cleared up, and some of them stayed overnight.

It was a short-lived business boost for businesses off of I-65, but like so many of those who had an unexpected and unwanted sleepover, Graves said he's glad the interstate is free and clear.

"They were probably ready to get home to their family and stuff. The sun was shining in Florence, and it was like being in Alaska here," he said.

The Red Cross set up a make-shift shelter at the Cullman Civic Center to house and feed those who could make it there. The Red Cross said more than 100 people showed up and stayed until 65 was cleared for traffic.

District Engineer Johnny Harris with the Department of Transportation said Mother Nature can be tricky, and every winter event is different.

While rare, an event like that has happened before and can happen again.

ALDOT officials said initial reports were that the winter weather would hit later in the day and farther east than it did.

When trucks jack-knifed, it caused a long backup due to the traffic flow on the interstate.

Harris said that backup prevented their trucks from working on the roadway to keep it from freezing up.

Harris said state troopers are tasked with closing and providing detours, but motorists between the exits were the most impacted.

"Nature is always unpredictable.  You just try to have your best efforts put forward and try to just deal with the situation as it develops," said Harris.

He said local people are preparing an after event report for review.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.