• Atlanta Snow | Atlanta's roads thaw out


    ATLANTA - Meteorologist Brad Nitz says temperatures reached into the low 50s for most of metro Atlanta, melting much of the snow.

    Nitz's weekend forecast calls for highs in the 50s and 60s and no below-freezing temperatures. There is a 20 percent chance for rain Saturday, 60 percent for Sunday. 

    There are Internet rumors are flying about another winter storm bearing down on metro Atlanta, but Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologists say that it might be more rumor than fact.

    Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed unveiled emergency new plan in a news conference Friday.

    "I recognize that this has been a severe hit.  I understand that this has caused me political damage," Reed said.
    But Friday Atlanta mayor Kasim brushed off recent national media reports that tried to pin the crippling gridlock and epic aftermath on local interstates, outside his jurisdiction, at the height of this week's storm on poor planning by him and other city leaders.
    "I don't care about that. I care about people being harmed," Reed said.
    As the drama unfolded Tuesday, in an internal email, one of the mayor's top advisor's complained, "We are severely under-resourced and the state is basically letting us alone."
    The city's response was slowed by what Gov. Deal and the state's emergency management commissioner admitted was a failure to sound the alarm soon enough.
    "I made a terrible error in judgment," said GEMA commissioner Charley English.
    Either way, part of the mayor's new comprehensive plan to prepare for and deal with large weather events and other emergencies will incorporate the urban area security initiative or UASI, a federal post-911 program that, in part, funds development of mass evacuation plans.
    “The UASI terrorism plan is a plan that I got built out, so it will be a part of the working group and it will be used as a part of the plans we have for severe weather plan,” said Reed said.
    The head of Georgia's state patrol said the key to handling many metro emergencies is keeping roads and interstates moving.
    "If we do (a) better job at trying to feather people out in a better fashion over time I think we'll have a better result," said Col. Mark McDonough.
    Because as many leaders learned the hard way this week, it could’ve been worse.
    "This could be a dry run, a picture of what could happen," McDonough said.

    Mayor Kasim Reed says the evacuation of children is where they really made a mistake, not having a plan on how to dismiss students and city workers. He says that won't happen again, even if he himself has to make the call for all agencies in the city.

    Jennifer Pankey moved to Atlanta from New York and said, she has never seen a region paralyzed by a 2-inch snowstorm. Streets turned into ice rinks. Miles of traffic. She said Reed needs to reach out to northern leaders for advice.

    “My heart goes out to anyone who was stuck in a car for 12 to 13 hours,” Pankey said.

    At a luncheon meeting, Reed said planned to seek advice from cities experience with winter storms. He has a 5-point plan to deal with weather emergencies he's calling for a comprehensive look at Tuesday’s storm.

    “Our response to learn what we did and we did not do what worked and did not work,” Reed said.

    Reed wants to implement a dismissal procedure for schools and city workers. So children aren't stuck on buses or in school.

    “That is something that if I had to do all over again, I certainly would do over,” Reed said.

    He plans to work with meteorologists on weather-related events. He will hire an Atlanta emergency management executive. And ask city council for more money for de-icing equipment. He said the city has plenty of plows, but we need more machinery to spread salt on the road. He hopes this plan keeps the city operating and out of the national headlines.

    “And don't have the kind of repetitional damage that we have suffered over the last 48 hours because of mine and others mistakes,” Reed said.

    Now that the 9 p.m. Thursday deadline has passed, drivers who left their car on area interstates need to check with tow companies to get them back.

    The Georgia State Patrol reported that at least 2,000 cars were abandoned by drivers during or after Tuesday's snowstorm. That number was down to 181 by Thursday night, and by Friday morning, most cars were towed away.

    The grace period to claim abandoned cars ended Thursday night. All cars left behind have been or will be towed to an impound lot to clear the way for the Friday morning commute.

    "People are going to need to get off the road and you can't do it if you've got a whole lot of cars blocing the expressways and the exits," tow truck driver Nate Banks said.

    As of Thursday morning, I-285 around Camp Creek Parkway had hundreds of cars lined up in the emergency lane. When Channel 2's Darryn Moore passed through the same area Friday morning, there were no cars left.

    If your car was left behind, call 511 and the operators there will help track it down. You can also check whotowedme.com or atowinc.com, ideally you have your VIN on hand. 

    Most school districts canceled classes for Friday, but students in Gwinnett will return. Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach found snow and ice surrounding the parent drop-off area of Corley Elementary School. 

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