Mayor Kasim Reed Announces City of Atlanta’s Preparation Plan for Winter Storm Helena

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Mayor Kasim Reed today announced a series of actions that the City of Atlanta is taking to prepare and respond to expected inclement winter weather. Current weather forecasts are predicting a mix of rain and snow beginning at 4 p.m. today. The City of Atlanta is following guidance from Governor Nathan Deal and will dismiss all non-essential employees early, and all public employees and city residents are encouraged to be at home and off the roadways before precipitation begins.

The City is currently operating at a Level 3 emergency response. City crews will begin operating on 12-hour shifts throughout the duration of the storm to ensure the safety and drivability of city roadways. City residents and visitors are encouraged to avoid all unnecessary travel during periods of precipitation and while crews are working to clear and treat surface streets.

“Ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors is our highest priority during extreme winter weather events. We are working closely with our state and local partners to ensure we are fully prepared to respond to this weekend’s severe weather and will work around the clock to treat and keep roadways clear,” said Mayor Reed. “I encourage everyone who lives, works or visits Atlanta to sign up for NotifyATL, our emergency notification system, and follow guidelines to keep your families safe during throughout the weekend.”

The Mayor’s Office is coordinating closely with the city’s major employers, as well as the Atlanta Public Schools and other local jurisdictions to share information, coordinate activities and respond to changing conditions. The City of Atlanta supports the APS plan for early release of all students today and strongly encourages parents to make advance plans for connecting with their children, whether through pick up at school or at bus stops. The staggered release schedule begins at 12:30 p.m. for elementary students, 1:30 p.m. for high school students and 2:05 p.m. for middle school students. This plan carefully considers the need to get students and employees home prior to 4:00 p.m.

City of Atlanta winter weather preparedness actions include:

- Deploying Department of Public Works personnel to pre-treat priority 1 and 2 bridges and roadways. Crews will work from 11 a.m. Friday through Monday, January 9.

- Mobilizing City of Atlanta’s resources which include a total of 12 salt spreaders, 40 snow plows, 8 brine sprayers, 2000 tons of salt in hand, 1500 tons of aggregate and 10,000 gallons of brine. The City of Atlanta also has private contractors on standby if additional resources are needed.

- Utilizing NotifyATL, the emergency notification system for residents of Atlanta, to include the latest details regarding weather conditions, road closures and various aspects of the City’s response.

- Engaging the Ice Tracking Equipment Application with GPS tracking capabilities to allow the City of Atlanta to monitor roads in real time, and provide online information to the public.

- Opening the emergency overflow warming shelter at Old Adamsville Recreation Center on Friday, January 6 from 5:00 p.m. until Monday morning.

- To encourage families to stay safe, the Department of Parks and Recreation has canceled all recreation center activities for Friday, January 6 until Monday, January 9, 2016.

- The City of Atlanta Municipal Court will close at 11:30 a.m. and will re-open at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, January 9. Reschedule notices will be sent to all defendants scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. calendars.

The City encourages residents and motorists to follow these guidelines to ensure their safety and prepare for inclement winter weather conditions.

- Sign up for NotifyATL at

- Store at least three days of food and non-perishable items in anticipation of severe weather conditions.

- Plan ahead and allow extra time to reach destinations.

- Make sure you have the proper emergency equipment in your car and home such as batteries for cell phones and chains for vehicle tires.

- When driving in icy road conditions, the shortest route is not always the safest. Consider less hilly routes to reach your destination.

- Drive slowly. The faster you are driving, the longer it takes to stop the vehicle.

In anticipation of inclement weather during the winter season, the Department of Public Works hosted two dry run and readiness exercises based on the City’s winter storm preparation plan in November 2016. The exercise took place on priority route roadways in the City of Atlanta and engaged executive leadership and departmental staff in the efforts which will be executed in event of a winter storm.