Local
9:46 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Widespread State of Emergency Issued

Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 45 Georgia Counties Monday due to a winter storm that’s expected to bring snow, sleet and ice over the next few days. The declaration includes most metro area counties. It comes after Georgia received national scrutiny for its storm response nearly two weeks ago.

Gov. Deal says he expects the storm to start on Monday evening and come in two waves. Deal is most concerned about ice, which could lead to power outages. As a result, the state opened its emergency operations center and Georgia Power officials have called in crews from states such as Florida, Texas and Oklahoma. State officials also say they plan to work with the American Red Cross if there is the need to shelter residents who experience power outages.

Gov. Deal meets with agency heads Monday morning before the winter storm.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The governor urged drivers to stay off the roads as much as possible while crews treat them over the next few days. He also encouraged residents to take personal responsibility to avoid endangering themselves and their family members. Transportation officials are asking truckers to stay out of the Perimeter unless they live in the area or are making local deliveries.

The emergency declaration comes after Deal received harsh criticism for his handling of the recent snowstorm. During the storm, there were thousands of stranded motorists and a number of students who were forced to stay in their schools overnight. Critics said Deal did not declare a state of emergency soon enough.  Deal apologized for the state’s response. And the embattled head of Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency, Charley English, took responsibility saying he should have coordinated the state’s emergency response sooner. This time, Deal and emergency officials began preparing for the storm at least a day in advance.

Immediately after the last storm, Deal defended English. But last week, after embarrassing emails surfaced, Deal took a vaguer tone. On Monday, when asked if he had confidence in English, Deal said, “absolutely.”