Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Well, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is hoping to avoid looking like a fool in the wake of a second massive winter storm in his state, calling a pre-emptive weather emergency in 45 counties as his state preps for a two-day storm expected to wallop the South with snow and ice.
Two weeks ago, Deal, a Republican, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a Democrat, faced criticism for the state’s slow response to a winter weather pattern that dropped just more than two inches of snow in the Atlanta metro region but paralyzed drivers, caused children to get stuck at school and resulted in hundreds of flight cancellations.
As a new storm, dubbed “Pax” by The Weather Channel, threatens a swath of the country from Texas to the Carolinas, all eyes are on Georgia.
"I think we're certainly ahead of the game this time and that's important," Deal said Monday at a news briefing, according to CNN. "We're trying to be ready and prepared and react as quickly as possible. We are making every effort to be prepared for these events, and I would simply say that we should all individually use extreme caution."
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the region from Tuesday morning until Thursday morning, predicting the worst weather to pass through Wednesday. Rain, which was reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday morning, will be followed by sleet and freezing rain Wednesday and snow that evening. A total of two to four inches of snow – which constitutes a mere annoyance in northern parts of the country – is expected by the end of the system, according to the NWS. Temperatures will be in the upper 30s Tuesday, dipping to the upper 20s Wednesday. The storm is forecast to move up the coastline and reach the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast as a potentially major weather event.
Georgians are following the lead of their state and local officials, with CNN reporting bare grocery shelves ahead of the daunting weather.About 1,000 flights have been canceled already and another 2,300 delayed in the U.S., according to FlightAware.com, a live flight tracking site, mostly at Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte (N.C.) airports.