ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal took responsibility Thursday for the poor storm preparations that led to an epic traffic jam in Atlanta and forced drivers to abandon their cars or sleep in them overnight when a storm dumped a couple of inches of snow.
Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed have found themselves on the defensive ever since the snow started falling Tuesday and commuters rushed home at the same time schools let out, causing gridlock.
"We did not make preparations early enough," Deal said at a news conference. "I'm not going to look for a scapegoat. I am the governor. The buck stops with me."
As Deal said his agencies would undergo reviews and make new plans, police and the National Guard helped people reunite with their abandoned cars, two days after a winter storm hit the Deep South.
The cleanup could take all day. At the peak of the storm, thousands of cars littered the interstates in Georgia and in Alabama. Some people ran out of gas, some were involved in accidents and others simply left their car on the side of the road so they could walk home or to someplace warm.
Deal said the state would be much more cautious for future storms. For his part, the mayor earlier took the blame for businesses, schools and government letting out at the same time.
Charley English, the head of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, also took some of the blame.