Valdosta Daily Times

State News

February 1, 2014

Atlanta rebounding from winter storm

ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Friday outlined steps he said he plans to take to improve the city’s emergency preparedness after a winter storm brought the metro area to a halt.

Reed said he has ordered a comprehensive review of the city’s response to Tuesday’s snowfall to see what worked and what didn’t. He also will convene a working group to come up with best practices for emergency preparedness, including a protocol for dismissals during severe weather.

His remarks came as temperatures in Atlanta climbed above 50 degrees, melting much of the remaining snow and ice. Traffic was moving normally on the region’s interstates and local roads, though a state of emergency remained in effect through Sunday night. While many school districts were still closed, state and many private employees returned to work. Police were encouraging motorists to reclaim cars abandoned at the height of the storm.

Reed also plans to recruit and hire an emergency management executive for the city to implement the working group’s recommendations and to be responsible for the city’s readiness in any kind of emergency situation. That person will help coordinate with other regional leaders, he said. Reed will also request that the city council appropriate funds to expand Atlanta’s pretreating and de-icing capabilities, he said.

The mayor has also reached out to the Weather Channel, which is headquartered in neighboring Cobb County, to participate in his working group and help Atlanta become a model for how to create a “weather-ready city,” he said. And he plans to collaborate more closely with officials at the airport who are constantly gathering detailed weather information.

Reed made the comments at a long-planned speech at the Atlanta Press Club.

Snow began falling in Atlanta around midday Tuesday and, within hours, the metropolitan area was in gridlock with tens of thousands of people stranded on icy roads. Reed and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal have come under fire for the way the city and state handled the situation.

The governor offered his clearest apology in a news conference Thursday, saying his administration didn’t plan well enough and pledging a full review of the state’s emergency planning.

Georgia’s top emergency planner described the storm as a “winter weather ‘thing”’ in an email he sent Tuesday just as the snow started falling around Atlanta.

“Will be all better by Thursday,” Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Charley English wrote in an email released to The Associated Press under Georgia’s open records law.

English was way off. By Wednesday, he was updating the governor’s office on the number of children stranded on school buses and explaining how helicopters were ferrying food and supplies to areas with stranded people. On Thursday, English publicly apologized for making what he described as a “terrible error.”

State Sen. Jason Carter, a Democrat running for governor, said Friday that everyone agrees the state’s response to this week’s snow storm was a failure. Carter said he was not seeking to place blame and wanted to wait for the results of various reviews that have been called for by Deal.

“It’s the second time in three years that it’s happened,” Carter said. “My focus and everyone’s focus needs to be on how to fix the problem with respect to emergency management.”

Reed said there are things the city should have done differently but said his administration was not sitting idly by.

“The notion that we were standing still is just patently not the case,” Reed said.

Many of the wrecks and much of the gridlock highlighted by national news media were outside of his jurisdiction. City vehicles began pretreating roads at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and most major arteries within the city limits were passable by 6 p.m. that day, he said.

He stopped short, though, of criticizing other political leaders in the region, saying that would be counterproductive because they all need to come together now to prepare better for the future.

1
Text Only
State News
  • Kingston, Perdue make final pitch in Senate race

    U.S. Senate hopefuls Jack Kingston and David Perdue hit every corner of the state in one final scramble before Georgia Republicans will choose one of them to take on Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn this fall in one of the nation’s most significant midterm election matchups.

    July 22, 2014

  • Senate race zeroes in on metro Atlanta, north Ga.

    Neither Republican running in Georgia’s closely watched Senate race has a natural advantage in metro Atlanta, where the state’s most populous area and a ring of northern exurbs are serving as the key battleground ahead of Tuesday’s runoff.

    July 21, 2014

  • Kingston, Perdue: Teamwork begins after runoff

    Businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston have plenty of criticisms for each other as they appeal for votes ahead of Georgia’s Republican Senate primary runoff.

    July 20, 2014

  • Senate-Georgia_Rich copy.jpg Kingston, Perdue offer few details on budget fixes

    Neither Rep. Jack Kingston nor businessman David Perdue has detailed a clear course for changing the nation’s fiscal situation, instead broadly railing against government spending and debt in their campaign for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Republican Senate hopefuls clash in Sunday debate

    Georgia Republican Senate candidates Jack Kingston and David Perdue sharpened their attacks on each other during a heated debate Sunday with just over a week to go before their runoff election.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • FAA: Small plane accident in Ga. woods

    The Federal Aviation Administration says a small plane has been destroyed by fire in an accident in a wooded area of western Georgia and that two people were aboard.

    July 13, 2014

  • Candidates discuss Common Core

    The Associated Press sat down recently with the two Republicans competing for Georgia’s open Senate seat to discuss three key issues. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah and former Dollar General CEO David Perdue will meet in a runoff July 22, and the winner will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the fall.

    July 7, 2014

  • Perdue, Kingston talk taxes

    July 6, 2014

  • 5 killed in northeast Georgia crash

    Three children ages 2, 8 and 13 were among the five people who were killed in a wrong-way crash on a highway in northeastern Georgia Monday, state police said.

    July 1, 2014

  • New laws start July 1

    During the most recent legislative session, state lawmakers proposed 615 pieces of legislation. Of those, 305 bills passed with Gov. Nathan Deal signing the vast majority of them into law. Some became law upon the governor’s signature, while a large number take effect on July 1, the start of the state’s fiscal year. A summary of some of the major bills set to take effect July 1:

    June 30, 2014

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results