Amid growing criticism, Atlanta increases snow response fleet from 10 to 58 pieces
January 11th, 2011
11:15 PM ET

Amid growing criticism, Atlanta increases snow response fleet from 10 to 58 pieces

The city of Atlanta expanded its fleet of snow response equipment from 10 pieces to 58 Tuesday amid mounting criticism over what many considered the city's failure to adequately prepare and respond to the biggest snow event in at least a decade.

So far, city crews have focused on clearing high priority routes, such as bridges and roads leading to hospitals, and providing emergency and essential services to residents, Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday. Of those 200 miles of high priority roadways, 150 have been cleared, and crews worked on clearing neighborhood and side streets Tuesday night after obtaining more equipment from private contractors.

Many of those streets are maintained by the Georgia Department of Transportation, which is partnering with the city to clean the streets tonight.

“The City of Atlanta is working tirelessly to ensure that the roads are clear of ice and snow and I want to thank our residents for staying off the roads to help facilitate this process,” Mayor Reed said. “In one of the worst snow storms in a decade, we have expanded our fleet from 10 to 58 pieces of equipment and have been coordinating seamlessly across city departments and partnering with other jurisdictions to keep our streets safe.”

Reed said the city had attempted to prepare for the snowstorm, which left most major roads, interstates and sides streets covered in ice, paralyzing the city with widespread closures of schools and businesses. Residents are still being encouraged not to drive tomorrow to allow cleanup crews to effectively clear the roads.

He acknowledged, however, that preparations before the storm that grew the fleet from 10 to 22 pieces of equipment was not enough, as officials had hoped it would be based on previous snow events.

"I think what surprised us was the quickness of the accumulation when the snow started falling," he said. "It turns out that double wasn't enough. We did not anticipate that this was going to be one of four biggest snow event in ten years."

Since then, Reed said the city has been working swiftly to acquire more equipment to clear the streets of ice and slush that has accumulated. But the city has had to compete with other municipalities short on resources for this kind of event for the equipment, Reed said.

"Governments from across the region are all in competition for equipment," he said. "We are doing this so the city doesn't have to purchase mass amounts of equipment that we may never use again."

Parts of the city saw up to 5 inches of snow Sunday night, which may not seem like a lot in absolute terms, but is significant in a city that has an average snowfall of 2.5 inches and considers a fleet of 10 salt spreaders and motor blades generally adequate for its purposes.

By comparison, the city of Cleveland, Ohio (where 80 inches of snow fell during the 2008 to 2009 winter season), had a snow removal fleet of 62 trucks and 13 road graders ready for Tuesday's snowfall, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Reed noted one statistic that he considered the most significant measure of the city's response.

"We are not aware of any death that is snow-related, so as tough as it has been since this snow event began, we have not lost a life that we are aware of as a result of one of the most significant snow events we have ever had."

Read more about the winter storms heading up the Eastern seaboard
Post by:
Filed under: Weather • Winter weather
soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. Hookapooka

    Its going to be in the fifties this weekend!This story will melt along with the ice and down the storm sewer it will go away!Goodbye!

    January 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michelle

    All I have to say is we will be back in the ICE AGE Dec 21st, 2012 and we will all be gone!

    January 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      Can you point to a single shred of scientific evidence that supports this? An "Ice Age" doesn't spring up in one year. We won't wake up tomorrow to -20 temperatures for the next six months.

      January 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eric

    One other note: why on earth would CNN compare Atlanta snow equipment to Cleveland's? What the heck would Atlanta do with 62 snow trucks the other 363 days of the year?

    And the headline says "Amid Growing Criticism," but can't seem to come up with a single critic to quote.

    Man, this is some awful reporting. I need a better news outlet.

    January 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • bitterjack

      You are under the impression CNN is in the business to report news. They are not. They are in the business to CREATE news.

      January 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • gordon7

      @ bitterjack

      Apparently. I know CNNis a local product, but I have lost a lot of respect for them in inventing this story.

      January 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ready to move

    This city does not know how to respond to winter weather issues. Thanks to our local government and their non response there were hundreds of car accidents in a matter of a couple hours just last month. They city’s Mayor Kaseem Reed is a JOKE. A quote from him "we won't wait on the state to respond next time". Hopefully, there won't be a next time for Kaseem. How many times can we put up with a non-responsive government?

    January 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      So you blame the city for the "hundreds" of weather-related car accidents on the city, rather than southern drivers have no idea what to expect on ice/snow covered roads?

      Interesting logic.

      January 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sassy

    A lot of people are so programmed, and feel as though they have to get out and go to work for fear of loosing a job. Create work for yourselves! We are all talented in so many ways. Stop being afraid to create your own destinies. People are trying to go to work, in majority for a company not of their own, putting themselves in danger rather putting themselves in danger for themselves. Chill out! Peace be still! Sit down and play with those children of yours that you spend limited time with due to working or clean a closet out or maybe even prepare your lunch for the next week so that you don't spend unnecessarily. Be safe and enjoy life!

    January 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. i love snow!!!

    i don't really care if the clean up is slow and they don't do a good job i get too miss school and that's what matters.

    January 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eric

    To further that last point, check out the AJC online. There's a "rant" section, where people get to vote on user comments, either positively or negatively.

    The top ranked comment, currently with 459 positive votes:

    "Yous guys" from up north don't like the way we handle snow? Then you pay the extra tax dollars to purchase the equipment and large amount of supplies we use about ONCE EVERY 20 YEARS for the roads."

    The highest ranked negative post about the City's response:

    "Has Atlanta never heard of salting roads???"

    That one has a current *negative* rating of -234.

    In short, CNN is full of crap. Unless of course "growing criticism," means that there was one guy upset about it, and now there are two.


    January 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • gordon7

      Amen, brother

      January 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • bitterjack

      CNN has to report news 24 hours a day. They can either pay a bunch of "journalists" to sit around an blog about "issues" or hire a few journalists to actually go into the field to verify things. God knows that a hell of a lot cheaper to blog than going out to do an in depth investigation about the story. And nowadays, the news is pure business.

      January 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Efrain

    It's pretty ridiculous here in Metro Atlanta.
    Snow stopped Monday and the streets are still a nightmare.
    In DeKalb County our County Manager (pronounced moron Burrell Ellis) has yet to have major roadways like Lawrenceville Hwy, Scott Blvd, N Druid Hills, LaVista Rd, Peachtree Industrial Blvd....etc...etc.....etc plowed or salted.
    As a transplanted yankee I am able to negotiate the streets but they are trecherous.
    Perhaps is we could elect some folks not of color all would be better.

    January 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      Go back up north... your bigotry is showing.

      January 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • InAtlanta

      what a horrendous comment!
      I think the fact that Dekalb County has only two snow plows may be part of the perceived problem. Yes, the roads are still terrible. But, as many have said, no one here really cares - we're stuck for a few days every few years. And most of of us are working remotely, and life goes on.

      January 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeroy jenkins

      troll harder, n00b.

      January 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • e

      take your racism back north.

      January 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dwl

    As some one said on the news yesterday, this is a storm that might hit once every 10 to 15 years. Do you want the city to spend hundreds of thousand of dollars on equipment to handle these rare occassions or would you rather they spend the money to address issues that happen every day. People are so self absorbed, everything is me, me, me. Watched some lady on the news stuck in a bus station crying cats and dogs because they ran out of food and she was hungry. Deal withit you self absorbed babies. I live in Wisconsin and this is an annual event but when the rare storm does hit you make due.

    January 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |

      noooo we dont want city to buy alll that... we want the city to invest in better ways in preparing for the snow .... we new a week in advanced that the storm was coming...... the city should of gotten prepared

      January 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. i love snow

    i think everything except the roads are fine the power has not gone out once and i got to sled down our street for hours

    January 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

    Helloooo NCR from Dayton Ohio Bwahahahahahahah!

    January 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Deb

    I now live in Atlanta after growing up near Rochester/Buffalo, NY, living in Denver and in NY City. I will now tell you why the city is shut down. We got 4 to 6 inches of show in a few hours, then it proceeded to freezing rain which created 4 to 6 inches of ice. The sun usually comes out down here and melts everything in a day or two, but we are also in the middle of an Arctic cold front where the didn't come out for 3 days. The snow removal equipment and road salt we keep is meant to be enough for highway use and light street use only because we usually don't need it. So I don't want to hear another Northerner ask why the city shut down when we had 5 inches of solid ice on the streets with no salt or equipment to get rid of it with.

    January 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. thhhhhhhhhh

    Mayor blames the state, the state blames the mayor, is embarrassing and they are all worthless

    January 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joshua Ludd

    Yeah, because in this time of budget shortfalls... preparing for huge amounts of snow in Georgia is totally a no-brainer and a huge mistake when it wasn't done.

    January 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ablaze

    As you are all saying....Atlanta is in the South. That means you get very little snow and ice every year. The reason big southern cities will probably never be prepared for icy, snowy weather a few days a year is the cost. Why spend millions on snow plows, etc. when they would be garaged for 360 days out of the year? I live in Dallas, and it's the same story here. So, go out and buy your groceries a few days ahead of a storm they've announced is on its way, stay home and cuddle up for a few days, get some rest, and be thankful you're safe!

    January 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • gordon7

      @ ablaze...

      Like you good people in Dallas, we Atlantans are just fine with the roads. Like good southerners we trekked to the grocery store before the storm and stockpiled. We love this!

      It is the transplanted northerners who are complaining that we aren't doing things like they did "back north."

      I'm sure you've heard that mantra before.

      January 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16