Atlanta ice storm of 73

Friday, January 8th, is the 37th anniversary of the worst ice storm I remember during my almost 50 years with WSB-Television.   Ice came down in sheets.   It wrapped itself around Atlanta’s utility lines.  The temperature remained below freezing for 4 consecutive nights and days.  Pipes burst, streets were hazardous and power lines snapped.  At the time, I was  living near Howell Mill Road and West Wesley.  We were without power for more than a week.   I had a freezer chest in my carport.  It was packed with goodies:  frozen pies from Edwards Bakery and cartons of chicken breasts from Cagle’s Poultry.     I don’t recall that I was able to salvage many of them.   I was working almost around the clock.  Finding a warm place to sleep was not a top priority.    At the WSB studios, we were running on backup generators.  In the field, we relied on gasoline powered generators built into the mobile vans.   The thing that struck me then (as it has many times before and afterward) is how a change in our comfortable life styles   brings people together.  The good humor displayed by most people we interviewed during the ice storm of 73 has been repeated over and over down through the years.


4 Responses to “Atlanta ice storm of 73”

  1. Deanna Says:

    I remember that storm. I was four years old. I remember sleeping in front of the fireplace in our living room for days and days until the power (and heat) came back on! To me that’s still the worst storm I think I’ve lived through.

  2. Dan Says:

    I vividly remember this ice storm. I believe it started on a Sunday night after dark. You could hear sleet falling heavily in the darkness, but we didn’t think much of it. Looking out the window the next morning, the front yard looked like an ice palace. Ice coated everything. It was beautiful to see, but limbs were snapping everywhere and trees were coming down under the weight. Eventually, the power went out that morning and we didn’t have it restored for 7 days! I was living in Dunwoody. I remember that some of our neighbors never lost power at all, but most did, and the temperature was bone-chilling. No melting was taking place. The cold air and the ice kept the temperature below freezing for days. We cooked over sterno cups and sat wrapped in blankets in front of the fireplace, which didn’t offer much warmth. The city was paralyzed for days and days. We haven’t had an ice storm of this magnitude since.

  3. emptynestingforsinglemoms Says:

    Dear Mr. Clellan, I came across your blog as I was looking for something on WSB’s website and I have to confess, I did not click on your blog because of the title necessarily but because I was dying to find out what a blog was supposed to look like. Imagine my surprise when I saw that your blog was set up through the same company that I used when I signed up for my first blog only 4 days ago.

    I didn’t realize until after reading some of your articles the tenure you have with WSB so please excuse me if I’m overstepping my bounds writing to you about this. I’m just trying to find someone who can tell me how in the world you got photos on your blog??? WordPress is not exactly user-friendly, or then again maybe it’s just me.

    Aside from that, going through some of your articles was more than a pleasant surprise and I plan on digging back through the archives for a while now to relieve some of the stress I have accumulated after trying to set up my blog all morning.

    Thank you for any help you might be willing to share, and thanks for your articles.


    Jennifer Slater

    p.s. By the way, how did you get your name to print under your article titles? I didn’t even know that was possible…

  4. William Says:

    I was 10 years old at the time…we came back to Buckhead from Sandy Springs and couldn’t get up Powers Ferry to get home (good thing because we probably would’ve wrecked going down Northside). We continued around 285 to 75 to Mt Paran…

    Power off for a week, lived downstairs in front of the fireplace. My parents were able to cook on the gas stove, so we had hot food.

    My Dad and neighbor bribed the Utility Workers with Bourbon to get our power on more quickly – didn’t work.

    The joys of growing up in Atlanta.

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