Snow in metro Atlanta: Reed lays out staggered exit plan ahead of winter storm

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed speaks to reporters Wednesday morning ahead of a winter storm. (KATIE LESLIE / KLESLIE@AJC.COM)

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed laid out an action plan ahead of a winter storm Wednesday, calling for a staggered exit from city limits in hopes of avoiding last year’s historic SnowJam.

Reed implored parents whose children are in school or daycare to retrieve them between noon and 2 p.m., and for businesses to release other workers beginning at 2 p.m. this afternoon. He hopes residents will be at their homes by 4 p.m. today, he said.

“We don’t want to have a mass exodus from the City of Atlanta, which is why we’re asking for a staggered approach on a staggered schedule,” Reed said at a news conference this morning. “Our posture right now, and the state’s posture, is ‘safe, not sorry.'”

Last year the metro area was paralyzed by a winter storm that dumped ice and snow mid-day, causing a widespread traffic jam that lasted nearly a day as thousands of Atlantans flooded onto roadways at once.

The city anticipates receiving between two to six inches today, beginning around 3 p.m., he said. Reed said he doesn’t want a repeat of last year’s gridlock.

“Traffic in Atlanta at 6 o’clock is always bad,” Reed said. “If you add two to six inches of snow, we fear we could face a similar situation that we had last year. We don’t want people in harm’s way…”

Atlanta City Hall and local schools are closed today. State government is closing at noon. The mayor said he anticipates City Hall to re-open 10 a.m. on Thursday, pending further change.

City is using 83 pieces of equipment, including eight brine spreaders. The mayor is asking for residents to move cars off main roads, he said, to allow snow equipment to pass by.

The city has also opened the Old Adamsville Recreation Center as a warming shelter. Reed spokeswoman Anne Torres said about 30 people, including children, are currently using the facilities.

Residents with questions about city services are asked to call *311 for assistance.

Additional coverage: Atlanta under winter storm warning as precipitation moves in

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