As snow fell Tuesday and roads iced, schools closed and motorists became trapped in cars across north Georgia, a nigh-forgotten press release in the AJC newsroom became a punchline.
Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal encouraged the media to attend a ceremony where he would declare Feb. 3-7 as “Severe Weather Awareness Week.”
Thursday, Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Charley English was “presented” a proclamation, which, if framed, might be the closest thing GEMA has to a functioning snow shovel.
The words “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job,” were allegedly not uttered.
Tuesday night, Gov. Deal, in consultation with English, declared a state of emergency due to an “unexpected” storm that weather forecasters had been talking about for days.
Was the snowstorm really unexpected? The National Weather Service issued a snow warning for metro Atlanta early Monday morning.
At about 7 a.m. Tuesday, hours before the snow fell, schools started and most people drove to work, GEMA tweeted a “weather outlook” predicting “Snow is expected to begin as early as mid-morning and last into tonight. … snow covered roads will make for hazardous driving conditions through Wednesday morning.”
Before the snow started to fall, Nero fiddled and GEMA tweeted a pic of a Weather Channel appearance.
As the snow began to fall, GEMA retweeted a DOT warning to stay off the roads.
By then, it was too late. Kids were at school and adults were at work. When schools decided to send students home early, parents jammed onto roads already packed with fleeing office workers.
Atlanta police are so slammed they suggest using Twitter and Facebook to contact them instead of an overwhelmed 911 system.
Fortunately for taxpayers, Fulton County does have a really cool tank. But I doubt they would use it to rescue people.
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