This Time, Officials Claim They're Ready For Southern Storms

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Another winter storm is hitting the Deep South on Tuesday. Snow is falling in six Southern states. Two weeks ago, a storm paralyzed metro Atlanta. Some motorists were trapped on snowy and icy interstates for 18 hours. But this time around, officials are saying they will be better prepared.


From long-term climate patterns now to today's weather. Another blast of unusually wintry weather is hitting the Deep South. More than five inches of snow fell in north Alabama this morning. In Georgia, there was snow and freezing rain. It was only two weeks ago that a couple of inches of snow brought Atlanta to a frozen standstill. People were stranded in cars and kids spent the night at schools.

So this time, as Rose Scott of member station WABE reports, state officials are in winter preparation overdrive.

ROSE SCOTT, BYLINE: This morning in Atlanta, first it was the rain. In other areas sleet and snow and today's weather troubles are not done quite yet, says Mike Leary of the National Weather Service.

MIKE LEARY: When the temperatures finally go below freezing, which will probably be about 2 to 3 a.m., we're going to get another influx of moisture and the ice is going to start building up.

SCOTT: Unlike two weeks ago, when local officials were slow to respond to the developing weather Georgia Governor Nathan Deal already declared a state of emergency before this storm hit.

GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL: We are making every effort to be prepared for these events. We are trying to make sure that our resources for treating our roadways have been restocked.

SCOTT: Governor Deal is relying on a team effort. He says this time around the state's Department of Transportation and local officials are working together to make sure people don't get trapped on the roads.

DEAL: The DOT is in a position to put up warning signs as we need to with regard to traffic coming into the metropolitan Atlanta area.

SCOTT: That's comforting to Atlanta resident Mike McLear who was having lunch in a very empty city restaurant.

MIKE MCLEAR: I can appreciate it because it took me 10 and half hours last time to get home. But I'm not about to risk it this time. I'm going home after this and I'm going to stay there.

SCOTT: Tomorrow's wave of weather is predicted to be a lot worse than today's because all the ice will coat the streets and power lines. But there's some good news. It's supposed to start melting on Thursday.

For NPR News, I'm Rose Scott in Atlanta.



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