Atlanta Ice Storm a 'Horrific Event': Home Depot VP

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Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Home Depot Regional Vice President Chris Waits discusses the snow and ice problems plaguing Atlanta, Georgia on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance." (Source: Bloomberg)

What made you open your doors?

We saw the situation unfolding late in the afternoon around 5:00 and determined that so many people would be trapped and no way to get home with the weather -- with the temperature dropping down into the teens so it seemed the right thing to do.

I had a friend stock near his office for two days and could not get home.

He had seven or eight kids at his house that his wife was taking care of.

How bad was it out there for you guys?

It was a horrific event.

As it started to unfold, you thought it would improve over a few hours.

Traffic in atlanta is pretty tough with commuting from the north side of town.

As the ice started coming down more than the snow, it created gridlock.

The tractor-trailers started jackknife thing and blocking lanes and that was pretty much done at that point.

What kind of panic was there?

Did you have enough food to feed people?

Yes, we got volunteers together that would stay all night and went to local establishments to buy food and put many things in our refrigerators back in the break room so we could feed people.

We had a lot of snacks and coke and water and things like that that we sell in the store so we took all that product and marked it down and took care of our customers and associates.

We also have our meteorologist with us who was a longtime resident of atlanta.

Her great-grandmother was scarlet o'hara.

It goes way back.

We are so used to getting three or four inches here but two inches in the south, in atlanta, is different.

Is there something in terms of the climate in the south that makes two inches of snow that much more difficult to get through?

It is a combination of many factors.

We get more ice than snow typically in the south.

It does not happen that often.

People tend to leave at the same time and that's what happened this time.

As a resident, in 2011, we had a similar event and i was stuck for a week at a hotel because i could not get home a few miles away.

They don't have the snow plows.

We wake up in the morning in new york and maybe the side streets have snow but the main roads are cleared to drive.

They did not have the snow plows in the 1960s either, what is new?

They say this is a one in 10 year event but in the past few years, this is the second event.

I think the city was not prepared.

I have heard many reports from government officials saying they were not aware the storm was going to happen and i don't understand how that's possible.

The national weather service offered a warning 24 hours in advance and meteorologist like myself are talking about it and we said it would be two inches of snow so there was preparation time and it was the ability to per pair in advance.

What happens is the culture in the south is that you really don't expect it to be as bad as it is so people don't act the forecast seriously.

You say this is a cultural failure.

Know, i know the culture there.

It is not having the experience or being used to it.

When we talk about nor'easter's in new york, we know it what it will be.

Some people down there have not experienced these type of snow events.

Like us with the hurricane a few years ago.

How is it looking today?

Can people get home?

It has cleared up considerably.

You are now seeing the cars off the roads but there are still abandoned vehicles.

We kept open five stores last time because we had people who needed shelter.

We were going on today's across five stores.

We appreciate it and i'm sure the people who stayed in your stores appreciate it as well.

Thank you so much.

The weather looks great for the super bowl?

It does because we have had big snow events a couple of weeks ago here in new york.

We are now in a warming trends of the weather looks nice for the super bowl.

Very good, bonnie schneider.

Before we get to the super bowl, we have data coming out including jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. and the first take of fourth-quarter gdp.

Ahead of those numbers, futures are rising.

The fed said it will reduce

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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