Store shelves stripped bare: Georgia ice storm could take out electric grid
February 11, 2014
GEORGIA – If you’re an Atlantan making a last-minute grocery run, here’s hoping you love corn and asparagus. Because that’s all that left on most shelves as residents stocked up and hunkered down for what forecasters say will be a massive ice storm. Gone are the loaves of bread. The quintessential gallons of milk. The cans of beans and the beer. Just two weeks after a few inches of snow paralyzed Atlanta and embarrassed the state, both residents and government officials say they aren’t taking any chances. “I think we’re certainly ahead of the game this time and that’s important,” Gov. Nathan Deal told reporters Monday. “We’re trying to be ready and prepared and react as quickly as possible.” Deal declared a weather-related state of emergency for 45 counties in the state, well before snow, sleet and rain were expected to hit. The Atlanta Public Schools and a host of other systems across north Georgia announced they would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Even before the first raindrops fell, Jagannathan Santhanam had decided to throw in the towel.
“I will work from home and keep my kids home too,” said the software developer. “It was not fun, especially with family members stranded for more than 24 hours in different places during the last storm.” Charles Davidson also opted for a similar strategy. “My wife and I decided a few days ago that we were going to get groceries early in the day, and we’re going to stay in,” he said. “We’re going to stick around for the next two or three days.” It took Davidson more than 7 hours to get from Georgia Tech in downtown Atlanta to his home in Marietta, a northwest suburb. Because this is an ice storm, officials are especially concerned. The storm in late January dumped 2.6 inches on metropolitan Atlanta and shut down the city. This storm has the potential of knocking out the power grid. “When you’re talking about the amount of ice we’re looking at, it’s catastrophic,” Aaron Strickland, Georgia Power’s storm center manager, told reporters. “What will happen is that the ice will build up on trees, trees will come down and take down the power lines. … So it is an event that we are extremely fearful of, but we’re preparing (by) bringing in outside help at this time.” Snow, sleet and rain are in the forecast through Wednesday morning as temperatures plunge to the 30s. By Wednesday, ice on the roads could make driving “hazardous or impossible,” forecasters from the National Weather Service warned. –CNN