As a storm of epic proportions descends on the city of Atlanta, homeowners and government officials across the state are vowing to be ready this time. Early Tuesday morning, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed asked city residents to please stay off of the roads and to telecommute if possible, and more counties were declared to be under a state of emergency by Governor Nathan Deal. While the ice is not expected to become an issue until early Wednesday morning, city officials want to keep the streets free of traffic, so that they can be treated before the worst of the storm hits.
After the lack of preplanning for January’s winter storm led to massive traffic delays, half-day commutes and commuters being stranded away from home overnight, no one wanted to be caught unprepared as Winter Storm Pax bared down on the Southeast. Snow has already begun falling across much of north Georgia, and with temperatures expected to plummet overnight, sleet and freezing rain will greet most residents when they wake up on Wednesday morning. Local meteorologists are calling for as much as a half-inch of ice for Atlanta, and some areas east of the city may get more, while snowfall totals could reach as much as nine inches in various parts of metro Atlanta.
To prepare, the Georgia Department of Transportation has brought in 20 additional crews from south Georgia, and Georgia Power is preparing for catastrophic outages by bringing in 2,000 workers from several other states. While traffic and the sudden onset of the storm caused most of the issues in last month’s storm, Winter Storm Pax is expected to be even more severe due to the massive amounts of ice that are expected to accumulate, which can bring down trees, power lines and poles, having the potential to strand thousands of residents without heat and power for days.
Experts are advising residents to charge your phones, laptops and other electronic devices, and consider getting battery backups or a battery-powered storm radio for emergencies. Metro Atlanta home owners should be sure to allow a small trickle of water run overnight, preferably through a faucet that is located on an outside wall. It’s also important to make sure that you know the location of your water shut-off valves in case a pipe bursts, as this can help minimize damage. Finally, if you have to drive during this winter weather, be sure to slow down and make sure that you have an emergency kit in your car that includes staples, such as a blanket, flashlight, food, water, a first-aid kit and cat litter or sand, which can provide traction on ice if you get stuck.
For more information on winter storm preparedness, visit the Red Cross website here.