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February 10, 2014

Second chance

(Continued)

ATLANTA — "New levels of incompetence," Ali said, describing the state and regional response to the last storm. "Unforeseen levels of incompetence."

Ali said part of the problem is that Southern cities do not have as many snow plows, sanders and spreaders as Northern cities.

"I don't think they have the infrastructure to protect themselves if a storm gets really bad," he said.

A one-two punch of winter weather was expected. Rain and snow were forecast Tuesday followed by sleet and freezing rain Wednesday. Ice on tree limbs and roads was a major worry for drivers and utility companies.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather watch until Tuesday evening for northern parts of Georgia and the same watch from Tuesday evening through Thursday for the metro Atlanta area.

Other parts of the South were expected to get hit as well. Alabama, which saw stranded vehicles and had problems similar to Atlanta in the January storm, was likely to get a wintry mix of precipitation. Parts of Mississippi could see three inches of snow late Monday through noon Tuesday. And a blast of snow over a wide section of Kentucky slickened roads and closed several school districts.

During the last storm, Deal didn't hold his first news conference until hours after highways were jammed.

The governor, a Republican who is up for re-election, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, took heat from residents, forecasters and even comedians.

Saturday Night Live spoofed an Atlanta storm "survivor," complete with a thick Southern accent and references to the "Yankee's slush." ''The sun will rise again," the character said. After showing television news images of the gridlock, Jon Stewart quipped: "The ice age zombie doomsday apocalypse has come to Atlanta."

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