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Friday, February 14, 2014

Reed waves goodbye to Winter Storm Pax

Its nothing but smiles for Reed after playing his winter storm mulligan just right.
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • It's nothing but smiles for Reed after playing his winter storm mulligan just right.
Mayor Kasim Reed this afternoon breathed a deep sigh of relief as he wrapped up the city's response efforts to Winter Storm Pax.

After remaining open for nearly 100 straight hours, Atlanta's Joint Operations Center officially shut down at 2 p.m. following a week's worth of emergency preparations. The mayor praised both department leaders and city employees for working around the clock to get the city into "reasonably good shape. Reed also expressed his gratitude for Atlanta residents' willingness to cooperate with their storm response efforts and stay indoors through Wednesday and Thursday.

"We got through what everyone acknowledges was a very severe weather event after 300,000 people were without power over the last 100 hours," he says. "I think the credit belongs to the people of the city of Atlanta and the people of the region."

Unlike last week's winter storm, which resulted in massive gridlock throughout the metro Atlanta, Reed said the joint efforts of Atlanta's police, fire, and corrections departments helped improve the city's overall response. The key to that success, the mayor said, was far more coordination among city, county, and state officials.

"Everyone was saying the same thing at the exact same time," Reed says. "We were delivering very honest and candid messages based upon the information that we had and we were communicating on a constant basis. I think that was the difference in the overall performance of the city, the region, and the state."

In total, Atlanta's public works department, watershed department, and contract workers cleared 590 miles of the city's priority roads. The Atlanta City Jail provided more than 3,000 meals for homeless shelter occupants and city employees logging long hours.

Reed added that Atlanta's cleanup efforts are still underway to continue treating remaining patches of black ice throughout the city.

"The good news is that I did want to come out and tell people that the storm is over," Reed says. "I'm going to take away some excuses for people who thought they were going to get out of Valentine's Day. But the storm is over."

Moving forward, Reed still has plans to hire an emergency management executive, form a working group to develop best practices for future severe weather systems, and increase funding in City Hall's forthcoming budget for pre-treating and de-icing equipment.

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