Few natural events have left such a lasting impression on North Georgia than the Blizzard of ‘93. The snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow in the span of a few hours impacted virtually everyone and everything in Polk County.
Sunday, March 12, marks the 30th anniversary of “The Storm of the Century” that paralyzed much of the southeast, leading to fallen trees, massive power outages, impassable roads and a bit of survival instinct for many.
Reports at the time in the Rome News-Tribune had Polk County receiving 16-18 inches of snow during the storm system, which came through in the overnight hours of Friday March 12, 1993.
Then Cedartown Police Chief John Dean called the situation “a mess.”
Public safety agencies in the county were forced to use employees’ personal vehicles equipped with four-wheel drive to answer calls as police cars, even with chains on the tires, were unable to travel in the deep snow.
Polk County was scheduled to have an election on the following Tuesday that included a SPLOST referendum. That was postponed until June, where voters approved the one-cent sales tax.
The blizzard was the second part of a one-two punch for Polk County as it occurred less than a month after a tornado had swept through the area, causing millions of dollars in damages and leaving many homeless or out of work.
Brad Jones, who grew up in Cedartown and was attending the University of Georgia at the time, shared this memory:
I was in college in Athens and made a poor decision to come home to West John Hand Road for the weekend. The snow started as I pulled into Cedartown; by the next morning the power was out. My mother, Jimmie Jones, ventured out on Saturday, March 13, to check in on an elderly neighbor. We listened in on the radio that night to WRGA, the only station apparently with a generator.
Shivered all night but by Sunday afternoon learned some friends had power on College Street, venturing out to walk there for the night. By Monday morning power was back, and a Good Samaritan used his truck to create an opening at our driveway so I could get my car out onto the road. By then roads were a bit passable. Quite a sight to see snow plows on the then-new four-lane highway between Rockmart and Dallas on my way back to Athens — which only canceled class for one day!
Two weeks later during spring break I was hiking with a friend in Little River Canyon in 60-degree weather. Not soon after my mom put in a gas space heater since there was no fireplace, but it hasn’t been used since!