Georgia’s governor took responsibility Thursday for the botched response to this week’s snowstorm which paralyzed communities in and around Atlanta.
“I am the Governor. The buck stops with me,” Nathan Deal, the state’s Republican leader, said at a press conference. “We didn’t respond fast enough… Our preparation was not adequate,” he added.
The storm hit the state Tuesday, dumping just three inches of snow on the Atlanta area, but still resulted in massive gridlock on highways. Many frustrated commuters were forced to abandon their cars and several hundred children were stranded at schools overnight.
The storm is credited with causing at least two deaths in the state and over 1,200 traffic accidents. Across the Southeast, there were at least 8 additional storm-related fatalities.
On Wednesday, Deal called the storm “unexpected,” despite winter storm warnings and advisories for the metropolitan area on Monday.
Charley English, the director of Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency, also apologized for the state’s inadequate response. “I made a terrible mistake. … I got this one wrong,” he said at the news conference.
Atlanta’s Democratic mayor Kasim Reed is under fire for the city’s response as well.
On Thursday, authorities in Georgia were still trying to clear highways of abandoned cars and were transporting drivers to their vehicles.
–with reporting from Dan Hirschhorn