In response to a winter storm warning declared for 50 counties in the northern portion of Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state government offices in the affected areas to close at noon Wednesday and declared a state of emergency for disaster preparedness starting at 2 p.m.
“With forecasts showing we could see accumulation by 4 p.m., I want to make sure we get as many commuters home before then as possible,” said Deal. “While current models show that temperatures will remain above freezing, we don’t want to run the risk of having normal rush hour traffic volume if there’s snow or ice on the highways. In an effort to keep as many cars off the road as possible, I encourage people in both the public and private sector who can telecommute to please do (on Wednesday).
“We have delayed the state of emergency until the time that we expect to see precipitation, but I’ve made all state resources available tonight for preparation.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has moved 80 additional staffers into affected areas from other parts of the state. At midnight, DOT will mobilize 13 tanker trucks to apply brine to major highways. The State Patrol will deploy 174 troopers for rapid response to accidents, and it will mandate that all tractor trailers pull in to weigh stations to assure that trucks have the proper equipment for travel in snow/ice conditions. The Department of Natural Resources will place 15 strike teams across the 50 counties to aid in storm response and debris removal.
The 50 counties in the winter storm warning are Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Rockdale, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, Walton, White and Whitfield counties.