Gov. Deal extends state of emergency, South GA sends crews - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Deal extends state of emergency, South GA sends crews to help

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Traffic came to a near halt in the Jan. 28 ice storm. Traffic came to a near halt in the Jan. 28 ice storm.
Gov. Deal holds news conference ahead of looming winter storm. Gov. Deal holds news conference ahead of looming winter storm.
Dept. of Transportation crews in Tifton, GA prepare to deploy. Dept. of Transportation crews in Tifton, GA prepare to deploy.
ATLANTA, GA (WALB) -

The Dept. of Transportation in Tifton says their crews are deploying for Atlanta and North Georgia ahead of a winter storm officials are fearful may be worse than one that crippled traffic in late January. They expect to be in the area before wintry weather arrives. According to a report, 54 employees and 11 plow trucks from the Tifton DOT will be sent at 1 p.m. Monday.

Gov. Nathan Deal said in a news conference Monday that he's declared a weather-related state of emergency for 45 counties across North Georgia. He will expand the order to additional counties as conditions warrant.

VIDEO: See the entire news conference here

The Governor also urged North Georgia residents to have an emergency plan from Monday evening through Wednesday morning. He said he is specifically worried about ice accumulation on power lines causing power outages.

"Ice, in any context, is the biggest enemy that we have during this storm," said Gov. Deal.

State and local officials were widely criticized two weeks ago for what critics called a sluggish and inadequate response to the threat of severe weather that left tens of thousands of motorists stuck in their cars for hours and at least 280 students forced to sleep on their school buses because of icy, gridlocked roads.

More: GA had, didn't use alert system in snow storm

The governor has apologized and last week announced the formation of a task force to develop recommendations on how the state can be better prepared and better equipped the next time severe weather hits metro Atlanta.

The National Weather Service forecasts that rain Monday night will change to snow by Tuesday morning, likely mixing with sleet during the day.

Snow is expected from Tuesday night to Thursday morning.

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.