Georgia awaits the second half of the second major storm to hit the state in two weeks. Although today’s part one saw snowfall in the far northern counties extending southward to dustings in the northern Atlanta metro, today was just a small preview of what is to come, starting early Wednesday morning and stretching into Thursday evening. Two thirds of the state is under a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service, which is calling the storm one “of historical proportions.”
Georgia Power is predicting the possibility of hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power for several days. Courtesy of the Peach Pundit daily (you do subscribe, don’t you), you can find a map of outages here.
We’re not going to predict the weather, but on the political side, Governor Deal appears to be doing all he can. After declaring a state of emergency in fourteen northern-tier counties early on Monday, he expanded the covered counties by 31 more, including most of the Atlanta metro area later in the day. Today, he brought 44 additional counties into the state of emergency, bringing the total to 89, or over half the state’s counties. The state of emergency extends to south of I-16.
In addition, the governor announced that President Barack Obama has declared a federal state of emergency in a number of Georgia counties. Quoted in a press release, the Governor said,
On behalf of Georgians, I appreciate the president’s quick response to my request. I asked last night for federal assistance in this storm response. My primary request to the president was for generators in the case of power outages. The federal declaration makes those available, but it also allows us to ask for other supplies, such as food, blankets and commodities, as needs develop.
The declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide supplies and to take action to alleviate damage from the storm.
Counties covered by the president’s order include Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Cobb, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Elbert, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Jackson, Lincoln, Lumpkin, Madison, Murray, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, Walton, White, Whitfield and Wilkes.
The Georgia DOT is expected to be out in force after sundown. The precipitation is supposed to start again after midnight.
Now, Georgia sits and waits, expecting the worst, but hoping for the best.