Al Roker and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal have a beef that is being played out in the national media and Twitterverse. Atlanta was hit with a snow and ice storm that shutdown the city and had a cascade effect on transportation in the southeast. At issue is the level of preparation of Georgia agencies and the level of response. Georgia failed miserably on both aspects. During a press conference on Tuesday, Deal directly contradicted the head of Georgia Emergency Management Agency about when it was clear an emergency was imminent.
Al Roker took exception to what the governor said.
“The mayor and the governor got on TV and said “Oh, this wasn’t expected,’ and that’s not true. “We were talking about this Monday that this was going to happen. They took a gamble; they didn’t want to pre-treat the road. I don’t think they wanted to spend the money and do what they needed to … this was poor planning on the mayor’s part and the governor’s part pure and simple … the roads are gridlocked and it’s a shame.”
Roker went on to write an open letter to Atlanta meteorologists. In that letter he stated once again it was not the forecasters but the officials who were to blame for not understanding the weather advisory system.
“One observation that has become apparent to me is that the public and perhaps some policy officials may not fully understand that a Watch, Warning, or Advisory has very specific meanings. They are not just generic ‘hey, be on alert’ or ‘hey, get ready’ warnings,” Roker wrote.
Because of the lack of preparedness thousands of people were stuck sleeping in their cars overnight and children had to sleep in schools across the Atlanta metro and outlying areas. The last time an ice storm of this magnitude occurred was in 2011, when Atlanta was shut down for four days. After the 2011 storm, promises were made that the city and state would be more prepared for future storms. Despite these promises and the purchase of new snowplows by the city of Atlanta, it still was not enough.