Kasim Reed, Nathan Deal caught with pants down during snow storm

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 29, 2014
Screen grab of CBS live feed via Atlanta INtown.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Gov. Nathan Deal  face the media on Jan. 29 in the aftermath of Atlanta’s 2014 Snowpocalypse. Source: Screen grab of Fox 5 live feed via Atlanta INtown.

So emergency planning is one of the government’s key functions, along with educating kids and cutting ribbons in front of businesses that just got a bunch of tax breaks.

And yet somehow Atlanta managed to turn yesterday’s snow storm into a category five catastrof&^!.

Thousands of people spent hours stuck in gridlocked traffic.

Students and employees were stranded, spending the night where they spent the day. The traffic maps looked like something a doctor would show a patient right before emergency heart surgery.


Photo via: http://www.briandanin.com/

Atlanta INtown reports today that Gov. Nathan Deal has been doing a lot of damage control this morning as reporters pelted him with snow-related questions.

From the INtown article:

Reporters hammered Deal and his staff with questions about the state’s preparedness for the storm and questioned why a state of emergency wasn’t declared before the storm hit and why local meteorologist’s predictions were ignored. Deal said the state relied on the National Weather Service models, which showed metro Atlanta would not bare the brunt of the storm.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Charley English said the emergency operations center was only partially operational by 3 p.m. on Tuesday and appeared clueless to the condition of metro roads, denying they were heavily gridlocked. Deal quickly cut him off and disagreed with that assessment.

So I think we’re already drawing up a short list of people who will be unemployed in the near future …

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also defended the city’s response in a testy exchange with reporters. As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Reed said:

“I’m not going to get into the blame game, but the crisis that we are going through is across the region. If you look at anybody’s street in any community across the entire region, there’s no one doing a better job than we are in the City of Atlanta.”

I’m not sure what the measuring stick for this is, but Reed and Deal aren’t a hit with critics this morning. To be fair, it’s a tough room when your audience has been reduced to tears after spending an eternity in traffic.

I wasn’t  stuck in the traffic yesterday (thank God), but by all accounts, it sucked so much ass. Atlanta was ridiculously unprepared for this. There were a few obvious mistakes, including the decision to open schools on Tuesday. School traffic is the backbone of congestion in Atlanta. When schools dismissed early, parents rushing to pick them up collided with other people trying to leave early before things got even worse. Calamity ensued.

My friend Victoria Mitchell gave a concise, thoughtful explanation how Atlanta managed to screw this up.

“I would imagine that mobilizing GADOT to load the sand/salt trucks *before* things started getting bad would have been a prudent measure, especially given the way that the season has been going thus so far. (Seriously, this was foreseeable.) Other than that, this is NOT the first time that we’ve had a snow storm during the middle of the day and had to send everyone home (and this wasn’t a major snow storm by any stretch of the imagination.) There are ways to clear out a city and not screw it up royally,” Mitchell told me. “This wasn’t it. Releasing businesses, schools, and local government all at the same time with roads not having already been treated? Yeah, that was a guaranteed catastrophe. Alpharetta is so bad that I have friends who have been on the roads for twelve hours and no end in sight. People abandoning cars, wrecks everywhere. This was a complete and total lack of planning for something that we knew about last week!”

Yep. According to the AJC, people are still stuck on the roads today. I hope we can get these folks off the road and back home soon.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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  • I don’t live in Atlanta at all, but if I were governor or mayor, I’d be doing a helluva lot better in contacting the LOCAL NWS office. Something tells me both Reed and Deal may be out soon. Hope everyone there is okay and is getting through this insane nightmare.

    • Reed recently won reelection, but Deal is up for reelection this year. Long time between now and November, though.

  • I live in Atlanta and having lived in New York for 12 years, it is an embarrassment that none of the decision makers here were prepared for a couple inches of snow. It was like the aftermath of an Apocalypse driving out there today. Couldn’t even drive home.

  • How interesting that no one is looking at or blaming the superintendents of the schools that decided to have school in session, when they were given the same forecasts as well.

    The fault of Deal and Reed was releasing everyone at the same time. That’s just about it. Everyone expects perfection, and everyone wants someone to blame, but no one is giving any kudos to how the city responded this time versus in 2011. There is a HUGE difference between now and then, and those who can’t remember have short memories. There were days of unpassable streets and virtually no plows to get the snow off. However, on Wednesday, not only were people able to get back to their cars, but many also went to work. That was unheard of the day after the snow began falling in 2011.

    I can almost guarantee that if schools were not in session, most of this would not have happened. The news media glossed over the fact that superintendents didn’t return phone calls. Why? Where are they? Kasim is right – he doesn’t have jurisdiction over the school systems, so they should be on the hook for allowing the kids to go to school — not the mayor.

    And the interstates are just that — interSTATES. Meaning, the city of Atlanta doesn’t have anything to do with them, that is the State’s responsibility and Gov. Deal.

    If you’ve lived here long enough, you should know that when the weather calls for snow, it’s almost like a fire alarm going off in a building. Most of the time it’s a false alarm, and nothing sticks. We just go about our day. However, sometimes it’s real, and we get bad results. If we closed everything and it didn’t snow, we’d look like fools. We didn’t close everything and it snowed, so we look like fools. It’s a no-win situation.

  • Gina

    Thank you, Richmond County School Superintendent in Augusta, for making the right call and canceling schools to avoid hazardous transportation issues in advance of the predicted snow and ice storm!

  • Clem Trimmertoe

    several years ago GEMA facilitate the passing of a state law requiring every school district to have approved GEMA emergency plans…one problem the law is a “toothless tiger” there is no penalty for them now having one…also…Where was the coordination from Atlanta Fulton County Emergency Management..
    This is not rocket science…look at rural georgia counties…their school administrators talk to the emergency managemnet director, county manager and sheriff…you didnt see this kind of stuff in the outlying counties around metro atlanta…the city folk can learn a lesson from the country folk…communicate…make coordinated decisions during these events…one other thing…would you open government or schools if there was a hurricane warning…NO…so when the NWS upgraded the storm to a winter storm warning..that was there sign…hey..somethings gonna happen…not it might..but it is..

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