ATLANTA Feb 6 Georgia state transportation
officials, reeling from the snow and ice that paralyzed Atlanta
highways last week, said they "overreacted" on Thursday by
warning motorists of a winter storm watch that had not in fact
After weather forecasts mentioned a chance of more snow,
officials posted winter storm watch and warning messages on
electronic roadway signs in Atlanta late on Wednesday and early
But the National Weather Service had predicted only light
snow, possibly mixing with rain. "The term 'winter storm' was
never used," weather service meteorologist Kent Frantz said.
The Georgia Department of Transportation subsequently
removed the more dire warnings and apologized for the error.
"In our desire to proactively inform the traveling public of
potential hazardous road conditions, we overreacted to a weather
statement from the National Weather Service," transportation
officials said in a statement. "We apologize for any confusion
this may have caused."
Atlanta highways came to a complete standstill last week
after about two inches of snow fell around the city. Hundreds of
thousands of commuters hit the roads at the same time to get
home from work and pick up their children from school.
Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican up for re-election this
year, admitted the state responded too slowly to the storm. He
announced a new severe weather warning notification system on
Monday and named a state task force that will explore ways to
improve the government response to storms.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Gunna Dickson)