Published Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 | 3:05 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 | 3:05 p.m.
In the aftermath of an epic Atlanta traffic jam caused by a couple of inches of snow, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed have fended off criticism from people who said the city and state was not prepared. Here's a timeline of forecaster warnings and events during the storm:
— 3:49 p.m.: The National Weather Service tweets about the possibility of ice accumulations in much of the Southeast, including metro Atlanta. Forecasters say ice is a possibility early to midweek.
— 6:58 p.m.: National Weather Service tweets: "SIGNIFICANT Winter Storm shaping up for the Southeast US & along much of the Gulf coast."
— 3:38 a.m.: Weather service issued a winter storm warning for metro Atlanta and cautioned people to travel only in emergencies.
— 10:20 a.m.: Reed tweets, "Atlanta, we are ready for the snow."
— About noon: Deal introduces Reed at Georgia Trend magazine's luncheon, honoring the mayor as 2014's "Georgian of the Year." Around the same time, snow begins to fall on Atlanta.
— About 1:30 p.m.: Downtown, highways become gridlock as thousands of commuters dash home and schools let out.
— Early evening: Deal declares state of emergency.
— 5:14 p.m.: Georgia Department of Transportation tells people to stay off the highways as conditions worsen; by this time, interstates are clogged and cars aren't budging. Some drivers would be stranded overnight.
— 6 p.m.: Some 25,000 school children on buses or still at school because of the weather and traffic, Deal would later tell the media during a news conference. He would also say later that children stranded on buses were the top priority.
— 11:30 p.m.: Deal and Reed hold first joint news conference. The mayor takes some of the blame by saying closings for government offices, businesses and schools should have been staggered.
— 10 a.m.: Reed holds news conference. Stresses the need to get people out of their cars and says city is better prepared than it was for the 2011 storm. City officials insist downtown is open for business — at least for a huge meat and poultry industry exposition at the Georgia World Congress Center.
— 10:59 a.m.: Georgia Emergency Management Agency tweets that motorists who need help should call 911. By this time, some people have been in their car for more than 18 hours.
— 11:30 a.m.: Deal holds news conference, says all children are off buses and the priority is getting them home, along with students who spent the night at school. Deal blames federal weather forecasters for not providing enough notice.
— 10 a.m.: Police and the National Guard open staging areas to begin taking people to their abandoned or wrecked vehicles.
— 1:30 p.m. Deal holds news conference and takes responsibility for poor planning for the storm.
— Around 2:30 p.m.: Kasim Reed tweets a news release from the city of Atlanta, which says all of the city's priority roads and bridges are now passable. It also says all stranded motorists have been rescued, and all public school students have been reunited with their parents.