Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Georgia while Gov. Nathan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as a crippling winter storm moves into the state.
Obama ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the severe winter storm that started Monday.
He also authorized the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, to provide appropriate assistance to save lives and protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in 48 counties.
Deal urged residents in 88 counties covered by emergency to stay home as the National Weather Service (NWS) warned of sleet, ice, snow and high winds in the hours before daybreak Wednesday.
NWS meteorologist Dan Darbe said the storm could be worse than that in 2000 with “crippling” ice that will build up on the roads and power lines.
Darbe predicted seven to nine inches of snow in Northeast Georgia and four to seven inches in metro Atlanta. Wednesday will see 25 mph gusts and Thursday will have 15 to 20 mph. The winter storm warning was issued 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and will last until 1 p.m. Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Georgia State Patrol shut down I-75 southbound in Catoosa at 9 a.m. after eight separate wrecks occurred near Mile Marker 348. Interstate-985 northbound at exit 16 in Hall County was also closed because of icing.
Sheriff’s deputies reported multiple wrecks in Gordon County.