ATLANTA, February 11, 2014 — President Barack Obama has declared an emergency in the state of Georgia, paving the way for federal resources to aid with any state and local response efforts to projected winter weather.
A wintry mix is slated to hit North Georgia in the predawn hours of Wednesday and possibly knock out power to thousands of residents, two weeks after two inches of snow paralyzed the region for days and left some drivers stranded in their cars for hours or roadways across the region.
The looming weather could be one of the worst storms to hit the region in decades, some experts are predicting. And, officials at all levels of government are taking no chances in response to the latest threat of winter weather.
“My primary request to the president was for generators in the case of power outages,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement. “The federal declaration makes those available, but it also allows us to ask for other supplies, such as food, blankets and commodities, as needs develop.”
Roads in Metro Atlanta were noticeably quieter during Tuesday’s morning and evening commutes after government officials asked motorists to stay at home if at all possible.
Deal wasted little time as well on Monday, declaring a state of emergency for 14 counties in North Georgia. By early Monday afternoon, the governor expanded his declaration to include 45 total counties in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia.
On Tuesday, Deal further expanded the state of emergency to cover a total of 91 counties.
With that frustratingly long commute late last month still fresh on the collective minds of motorists across Atlanta and North Georgia, officials on Monday showed little hesitation in canceling events. Schools called off classes on Tuesday and Wednesday; airlines cancelled flights in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; and governments quickly announced closures.
“There is no doubt that this is one of mother nature’s worst kinds of storms that can be inflicted on the South,” CNN quoted Deal as saying.
Following last month’s storm, both Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced new measures for how to combat future winter weather. Deal announced the Governor’s Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force, a group consisting of state officials, meteorologists and other experts that will suggest short-term and long-term solutions.