Wednesday, August 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

With dire storm forecast, Georgia hunkers down

By
From page A2 | February 11, 2014 |

ATLANTA (AP) — Forecasters issued an unusually dire winter storm warning Tuesday for much of Georgia, but many residents already were heeding advice to stay home and off the roads, leaving much of metro Atlanta a ghost town during the usually busy morning commute.

The storm could be a “catastrophic event” reaching “historical proportions,” the National Weather Service said in its warnings. Forecasters cited potentially crippling snow and ice accumulations, and they expected widespread power outages that could last for days. As much as three-quarters of an inch of ice is forecast for Atlanta, and wind gusts up to 25 mph could exacerbate problems.

Aaron Strickland, emergency operations director for Georgia Power, said the utility is already bringing in crews from Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan. Strickland, who has spent 35 years with Georgia Power, said he’s never seen an inch of ice in metro Atlanta.

“I’ve seen people forecast it, but it’s never come,” Strickland said. “And I’m hoping it don’t this time.”

Rain was falling Tuesday morning in Atlanta, with snow in north Georgia. Dustin Wilkes, 36, of Atlanta, was one of the few who headed to the office. “It looks like this time it’s not going to be bad until everyone’s home,” he said. He noticed his parking lot was mostly deserted.

It was a stark contrast to the storm that hit Atlanta two weeks earlier. Downtown streets were jammed with unmoving cars, highway motorists slept overnight in vehicles or abandoned them where they sat, and students were forced to camp in school gymnasiums.

Atlanta has a painful history of being ill-equipped to deal with snowy weather. Despite officials’ promises after a crippling ice storm in 2011, the Jan. 28 storm proved they still had many kinks to work out.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal indicated Monday that he and other state officials had learned their lesson. Before a drop of freezing rain or snow fell, Deal declared a state of emergency for nearly a third of the state and state employees were told they could stay home. He expanded the declaration Tuesday to more than half the state’s counties.

On Monday, schools canceled classes, and Deal urged people who didn’t need to be anywhere to stay off the roads. Tractor-trailer drivers were handed fliers about the weather and a law requiring chains on tires in certain conditions.

“We are certainly ahead of the game this time, and that’s important,” Deal said. “We are trying to be ready, prepared and react as quickly as possible.”

Some residents thought officials moved too quickly. “I think they probably overreacted,” Wilkes said. “It’s to be expected.”

But for others, memories of the last storm are still painfully fresh. Students were trapped on buses or at schools and thousands of cars were abandoned along highways as short commutes turned into odysseys. One woman gave birth on a jammed interstate. Officials reported one accident-related death.

Tony Hardy said he was trying to get out of the incoming weather. He lives at a homeless shelter and said he fell three times on ice during the last storm. This time, he said planned to shelter in his sister’s house.

“It’s going to last for a couple of days,” he said.

The storm was expected to hit other parts of the South as well. Alabama, which saw stranded vehicles and 10,000 students spend the night in schools during the January storm, was likely to get a wintry mix, with as much as 3 inches of snow and ice forecast before lunchtime Tuesday. Parts of Mississippi also could see 3 inches of snow, and a blast of snow over a wide section of Kentucky slickened roads and closed several school districts. South Carolina, which hasn’t seen a major ice storm in nearly a decade, could get a quarter to three-quarters of an inch of ice and as much as 8 inches of snow in some areas. Nearly 900 flights were canceled Tuesday at airports in Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte, N.C., according to tracking service FlightAware.

On Monday, Deal was doing many things differently than he had last month. He opened an emergency operations center and held two news conferences before the storm. In January, Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed did not hold their first news conference until hours after highways were jammed.

When the Jan. 28 storm hit, Deal was at an awards luncheon with Reed, who was named a magazine’s 2014 “Georgian of the Year.”

Reed had just tweeted: “Atlanta, we are ready for the snow.”

This time, the mayor made no such predictions. Instead, he said he was in contact with school leaders and the city had 120 pieces of equipment to spread salt and sand and plow snow. The National Guard had 1,400 four-wheeled drive vehicles to help anyone stranded.

“We are just going to get out here and, flat out, let our work speak for itself,” Reed said.

Some residents are already taking note of officials’ change in attitude for this storm. Kevin Paul, a barber, sat in an empty shop watching TV coverage of the storm Tuesday. Paul was critical of the response from Deal last month.

“I think that they should have done better,” Paul said. “I think they were preoccupied with other things.” But Paul noted Deal seems to be paying far more attention this time.

————

By Christina A. Cassidy. Associated Press writers Kate Brumback, Ray Henry and Jeff Martin contributed to this report.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

 
Report details the face of hunger in Yolo County

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Summer jobs: a scramble for spots, extra cash

By Spencer Ault | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis Arts Center gets a new look, thanks to Brooks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Bob Dunning: Taking on a Specktacular challenge

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

The big moveout, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sunder campaign will be at Farmers Market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Classic car show slated in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Students can practice safe bike routes to junior highs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

‘Monsters University’ to be screened in Central Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
California regulators approve PG&E rate hike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

America’s ‘it’ school? Look west, Harvard

By New York Times News Service | From Page: B3

 
School board preps for new academic year

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
Davis Art Garage honored; bench dedication set

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Woodland historical award winners announced

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Can’t understand this change

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Delta-friendly water bond is a win for all of California

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Bravo! The road diet works

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

Support water bond in November

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Relay for Life team says thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Aggie QB Baty is back to pass … Touchdown, Tina! Tina?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
I’m not an ‘athlete’ but curling is hard

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1

Hard hoops schedule features defending national champ at UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Crisp’s big hit helps A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie gymnasts are awesome at academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sacramento scores early to snap skid

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

Unplayable? Cubs, rain hand Giants a loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

Food that travels well for cooking out

By Julie Cross | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

 
Crowd funding campaign offers support for Art Theater of Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Visit Crawfish and Catfish Festival in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Artists invited to paint at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Goldberg, Milstein to play at Village Homes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

The voice on the CD comes alive at Music Together concert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Railroad museum will host Aberbach memorial

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6