But when he emerged from the Georgia Trend luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium, attended also by Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, he found a metro Atlanta highway system that was gridlocked and learned Cobb's streets were also overwhelmed by a mass exodus of workers and school children trying to beat the snow storm home.
Very few won that race.
"Everybody that had left their home in the morning, scattered, left their office or wherever they were all at the same time across the entire region," Lee said. "It seemed like every office, every company, everybody that had a kid, everybody got on the roads all at the same time. It was just pure congestion."
Snow began to fall in Cobb at about 10:10 a.m. on Tuesday, but Lee said it wasn't until early afternoon that he realized the storm would be more than what he planned for.
“(Meteorologists) were telling us as it was happening,” Lee said. “It's not like we were given a whole lot of warning.”
Initial forecasts, Lee said, predicted that areas north of Interstate 20 would just see a light dusting of snow, but that quickly proved false as 2 to 2.5 inches fell across the metro area on Tuesday.
County response extends into Wednesday
Since Tuesday, the Cobb Department of Transportation has spread more than 300 tons of salt, sand and gravel on the county's roads, but that response came too late for some drivers who were already stuck in impassable traffic on busy thoroughfares like Interstate 75 and Cobb Parkway.
Lee said Cobb's public works department readied its fleet of nine trucks capable of distributing gravel mixtures along dangerous roads, but by the time those vehicles made their way into traffic, navigating through hordes of unmoving vehicles proved almost impossible.
"That's what I think basically caused the biggest issues," Lee said.
And as the afternoon turned to night, motorists already facing treacherous conditions were met with an even more dangerous task of traveling home safely on the icy roads.
"Once it became ice, it became very challenging," Lee said.
Cobb public works crews and law enforcement officials worked through the night into Wednesday afternoon attempting to get stranded vehicles off the roads to make way for salt trucks.
"There are people at other people's homes that can't get home because they abandoned their cars," Lee said.
Lee declared a state of emergency in Cobb on Wednesday, following the lead of Gov. Deal, who did the same on Tuesday.
That allows County Manager David Hankerson more authority to work on private property to remove stranded vehicles, Lee said, and could help the county's case if it were to seek federal or state funding to cope with the aftermath of the storm.
Lessons to be learned
Lee said Cobb learned from the 2011 ice storm that paralyzed metro Atlanta and purchased new snow equipment.
He expects Cobb to also learn from this week's storm and re-evaluate how weather emergencies are handled in the future, but Lee said Wednesday the county was still trying to take care of the problems that remained on the roads before looking forward.
"We learned a lot in the last ice storm and we implemented that, and we learned a lot here," Lee said.
Lee anticipates a debriefing to take place with county departments later this week.
Traffic woes weren't exclusive to the county. Municipalities also faced hurdles.
"We've got the same issues as everybody else," said Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood. "We've got a lot of roads that just are not passable."
Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon is one of the few metro residents who avoided Tuesday's traffic nightmare and stayed home.
Though he praised the coordination between the city's public works department and public safety officials, he said more conversations between governments and the business community may help prevent the same dangerous situation from occurring again.
"Our roads were as good as they can be and I think that we learned from this a little bit," Bacon said.
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin spent three hours driving from the Square to his home in Whitlock Heights before he abandoned his car, which was unable to travel up the neighborhood's hills.
He, too, pointed to the timing of the snow as a challenge.
"When it hits at midday, when it hits like it did at 10 o'clock, it's hard to get as much sand out," Tumlin said.
Still, he looked for the silver lining and recalled seeing drivers helping others push their cars from the road and offering weary strangers a place to sleep.
"I think most people stayed calm and courteous," Tumlin said.