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Southern officials play blame game on storm and cleanup

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As the South struggled to recover from an unusual winter snow and ice storm that tied up roads for hours; forced many to remain in their cars for up to two days, and had officials trying to play the blame game card, controversy amped up, NBC News reported, as the mayor of Atlanta blamed the traffic mess on a lack of coordination and the governor tried to blame the weather service for missing the severity of the storm.

Gov. Nathan Deal told reporters yesterday that no one could have predicted, NBC News reported, the severity of the storm. Deal upset the forecasting world when he boldly made the statement that “no one could have predicted the degree and magnitude of the problem” that kept some people in their cars for as long as 48 hours.

Governor disputed

Deal's claim that the storm was unexpected was disputed by weather forecasters, who, NBC News reported, were more than a little upset by the remark. NBC News noted the National Weather Service had issued winter storm warnings at least 12 hours before the Atlanta area was slammed by winter ice and snow.

By northern standards the 2.5-inches of snow that fell on the Atlanta area is just a minor nuisance. In fact, Marshall Shepherd, president of the American Meteorological Society, writing in the organization's blog, called Dean's statement “wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong.”

Meanwhile, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who had assured citizens of his city that they were ready for the winter storm, backed away from his own Tweet in Twitter that “...we are ready for the snow.” Speaking to MSNBC, Reed noted that he has no jurisdiction over the roads where thousands of cars were abandoned by drivers and where many drivers spent up to 48 hours in the protection of their vehicles.

Today, Reed, speaking on MSNBC, acknowledged a mistake by transportation officials saying they should have used a staggered release of schools, government offices and non-government offices. Instead, hundreds of thousands of cars and drivers jumped onto the major highway systems in Atlanta quickly causing a huge gridlock that still grips areas of Atlanta today. Meantime, though, speaking on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” and NBC's “Today Show,” tried to deflect some of the heat he was feeling over the traffic issues by stating he was being unfairly blamed for the gridlock gripped the highway system around the city. He also noted that there was a lack of coordination on the highway, noting that Atlanta doesn't have responsibility for the major roadways through and around the city.

Some drivers sit in out

In the meantime, NBC News, was reporting that even as many drivers were still struck in their cars out of fuel and food as the National Guard was distributing blankets and rations to those drivers.

Others were trying to retrieve their vehicles. Drivers who wanted their vehicles were told to report to one of two staging areas where they will be taken to their vehicle and provided gasoline if needed. NBC News reported four-wheel-drive vehicles would be used to transport drivers.

The cars the drivers were seeking were abandoned on the major roads during the storm and were towed off to the staging areas by the Georgia Department of Transportation and various local towing companies.

Meantime, another group of riders who were stranded overnight in their school buses, students, were waiting as members of the Guard carefully guided the buses in which they were stranded to open roadways so they could get home.

A bit of irony

Ironically, NBC News pointed out, Alabama officials were caught with a case of foot-in-mouth disease as they acknowledged placing only half the state under a state of emergency. That was the part of the state which received the equipment and other resources that didn't get to the hard-hit Birmingham areas as it was in the wrong direction.

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