South Atlantic Area deals with unprecedented weather
Atlanta – Ice and snow continue to wreck havoc on the South Atlantic dropping over 3 inches of snow in some parts of the
area and shutting down most operating sites. Joel Pack, SA Safety Manager, said a total of 33 locations in the South
Atlantic are closed and only 9 remain open.
“Fortunately, this round we were able to assess the situation and get trucks off the road before the weather got too
bad,” Pack said.
Georgia took the brunt of the historic winter storm as roads were shut down, municipalities closed and over 350,000 people
lost power. Georgia Power, the largest utility in the South, said it could be the week of Feb. 17 before electricity is restored.
Pack said Waste Management’s biggest challenge will come this week as well.
“Overall, we have been doing a good job of keeping our employees safe, but our biggest challenge will be when we do get
back on the roads and have to drive on the ice and some left over frozen spotty areas.”
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and other state officials, including the state’s Education
Superintendent all took heat two weeks ago for the first “snowmaggaden” that left the city stranded and many people
forced to seek shelter in stores, gas stations and churches. Officials called the situation a fiasco and said it was a
combination of many things, including everyone in the city hitting the roads at the same time.
Meanwhile, state officials have reported that leaders feel like they learned from their mistakes and say the area has
fared better during this latest storm. Many South Atlantic employees were stranded while others took shelter nearby
so they could report to work the next day. Kirk Boettler, South Atlantic Area Manager for Centralized Dispatch, said he
and several of his dedicated members of dispatch stayed locally.
“Several of us spent the night in a hotel. We wanted to continue to modify recovery plans as we needed to and to notify
customers about our closed routes,” Boettler said “It is crucial to provide drivers with their tickets and route sheets so they
can continue to service customers.”
Georgia wasn’t the only state to suffer from the wrath of Snowmaggeden 2014. Motorists in cities like Raleigh, N.C. were
also stranded for hours on Wednesday after the storm caught citizens off guard.
Air travel has suffered with ice still on the roads, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is down for the most
part with Atlanta’s two biggest carriers, Delta and Southwest, planning to restart operations gradually.