City of Atlanta, GA

10/31/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/31/2020 12:51

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Declares State of Emergency to Expedite City and Private Sector Recovery Efforts Following Hurricane Zeta

Mayor's Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Declares State of Emergency to Expedite City and Private Sector Recovery Efforts Following Hurricane Zeta

ATLANTA-Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency due to the aftermath of Hurricane Zeta. Due to the storm's damaging winds of up to 50 miles per hour, the City has assessed a record high of 357 downed trees as of October 31, 2020. Of the 357, 60 trees involving power lines have been confirmed. This number is projected to increase as the City continues its assessment.

Mayor Bottoms' Executive Order mobilizes additional employees and City resources to assist in recovery efforts. Due to the severity of the storm, and in addition to 15 City crews working 10-hour shifts, the City will engage additional contracted crews starting early next week to assist power companies in the restoration of residential and commercial utilities. Priority areas include main transportation corridors for public safety and healthcare facilities.

Additionally, the Order directs ATL 311to open today, Saturday, October 31 until 5:00 PM. After 5:00 PM, residents may report downed trees by contacting 911.

Residents are encouraged to report any indications of downed power lines directly to Georgia Power to ensure all occurrences are recorded and resolved.

Mayor Bottoms' Executive Order reads as follows:

DECLARING, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 2-181 OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA CODE OF ORDINANCES, THAT THERE IS AN EMERGENCY IN EXISTENCE WITHIN THE JURISDICTIONAL LIMITS OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA AS A RESULT OF THE DAMAGE FROM THE UNUSUAL OR EXTREME WEATHER CONDITION OF HURRICANE ZETA WHICH HAS MADE THE USE OF CITY STREETS AND AREAS WITHIN THE CITY OF ATLANTA DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE AND HAS CAUSED THE STOPPAGE OR LOSS OF ELECTRICAL POWER AFFECTING MAJOR PORTIONS OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA; AND EXERCISING MY EMERGENCY POWER TO USE EMPLOYEES OF THE CITY AND TO DEVOTE ADDITIONAL CITY RESOURCES TO ASSIST IN MITIGATION OF THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY ZETA AS CIRCUMSTANCES DEMAND.

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 2-181(a) of the Code of the City of Atlanta ('City'), the Mayor, as chief executive of the City, shall have the power to declare an emergency to exist when, in the mayor's opinion, there is an unusual or extreme weather condition which has made the use of city streets or areas difficult or impossible; and there is a stoppage or loss of electrical power affecting a major portion of the city; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 2-181(b) of the Code of the City of Atlanta, the Mayor, as chief executive of the City, shall have the right to exercise any or all of the following emergency powers after such declaration of emergency:

(1) To use employees of the city other than employees of the department of police to assist in the safety and preservation of life, limb and property of the citizenry of the city;

(2) To close streets and sidewalks and to delineate areas within the city wherein an emergency exists;

(3) To impose emergency curfew regulations;

(4) To close business establishments within the affected area;

(5) To close any and all city-owned buildings and other facilities to the use of the general public;

(6) To do any and all acts necessary and incidental to the preservation of life, limb and property of the citizenry of the city; and

WHEREAS, no emergency power as set forth in this section may be effective for more than seventy-two (72) hours after the declaration of an emergency; and

WHEREAS, Tropical Depression Twenty-Eight formed in the western Caribbean on Oct. 24, 2020, and intensified into Tropical Storm Zeta the following day; and

WHEREAS, Zeta strengthened into a hurricane on the afternoon of Oct. 26, 2020, as it tracked toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, making landfall later that night to the north of Tulum, Mexico, at 11:10 p.m. Central Daylight Time as a Category 1; and

WHEREAS, land interaction weakened Zeta into a tropical storm as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 27, 2020; and

WHEREAS, Zeta began to reorganize later that evening amid low wind shear and warm sea-surface temperatures; and

WHEREAS, the reorganization of Zeta quickly escalated on Oct. 28, 2020, and it regained hurricane strength early that morning, rapidly intensifying into a Category 2 with 110 mph winds on its way to landfall in Louisiana at 4 p.m. CDT; and

WHEREAS, maximum sustained winds in Zeta increased from 75 mph to 110 mph in just 14 hours leading up to landfall, which easily met the meteorological criteria for the rapid intensification of a tropical cyclone; and

WHEREAS, Zeta entered the metro Atlanta area during the early morning hours of October 29, 2020 with strong wind gusts causing downed trees and power lines throughout the region; and

WHEREAS, winds at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were measured at 51 mph at 6:19 a.m. and the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Atlanta experienced stronger winds; and

WHEREAS, the damage from Zeta caused nearly 1 million customers to lose power throughout Georgia, about 20 percent of customers statewide, with North Georgia, and the City of Atlanta being hit the hardest; and

WHEREAS, damage from downed trees and powers lines caused the blockage of roadways and damage to property throughout the City of Atlanta; and

WHEREAS, the City of Atlanta is still feeling the impact of the massive loss of power and downed trees resulting from Zeta; and

WHEREAS, as a result of the damage from the unusual or extreme weather condition of Hurricane Zeta, the use of city streets and areas within the City of Atlanta has been made difficult or impossible; and

WHEREAS, the damage from Zeta and has caused the stoppage or loss of electrical power affecting major portions of the City of Atlanta; and

WHEREAS, therefore, and in accordance with Section 2-181(a) of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, I have determined that there exists an emergency within the jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 2-181(b) of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinance, during the duration of this emergency, I have the ability to exercise any of the following emergency powers:

(1) To use employees of the city other than employees of the department of police to assist in the safety and preservation of life, limb and property of the citizenry of the city;

(2) To close streets and sidewalks and to delineate areas within the city wherein an emergency exists;

(3) To impose emergency curfew regulations;

(4) To close business establishments within the affected area;

(5) To close any and all city-owned buildings and other facilities to the use of the general public;

(6) To do any and all acts necessary and incidental to the preservation of life, limb and property of the citizenry of the city; and

WHEREAS, as a result of this declared emergency and each day during the duration thereof, I have the authority to use employees of the City and to devote additional City resources to assist in mitigation of the damage caused by Zeta as circumstances demand; and

WHEREAS, the surge in City resources necessary to address this emergency shall include but shall not be limited to the assignment of additional employees of the City of Atlanta Departments of Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and Transportation, and the devotion of additional resources and funding for contractors which aid these departments in their efforts to clear the roadways and other property within the City of Atlanta of downed trees and other debris resulting from Zeta; and

WHEREAS, this surge of City resources necessary to address this emergency shall also include the assignment of additional employees of the City of Atlanta Department of Customer Service (ATL311) to ensure that residents shall have the ability to efficiently report damage resulting from Zeta and the City shall be able to ensure that all such reports are swiftly addressed; and

WHEREAS, this emergency declaration shall remain in effect for 72 hours after the date of execution or through the time of the next regular or special meeting of the Atlanta City Council.

NOW THEREFORE, I, KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, AS MAYOR OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA, NOW HEREBY AUTHORIZE, ORDER AND DIRECT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. I have determined that in accordance with Section 2-181(a) of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, there exists an emergency within the jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta as a result of the damage from the unusual or extreme weather condition of Hurricane Zeta which has made the use of city streets and areas within the City of Atlanta difficult or impossible; and has caused the stoppage or loss of electrical power affecting major portions of the City of Atlanta.

SECTION 2. In accordance with this determination, and in accordance with Section 2-181(a) of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, I hereby declare there to be an emergency in existence within the territorial jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta.

SECTION 3. In accordance with this declaration, I am exercising my emergency powers in accordance with Section 2-181(b) of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances within the jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta as shall be necessary to address the damage within the City of Atlanta caused by Hurricane Zeta which shall include but shall not be limited to the use of additional employees of the City and the devotion of additional City resources as circumstances demand.

SECTION 4. The surge in City resources necessary to address this emergency shall include but shall not be limited to the assignment of additional employees of the City of Atlanta Departments of Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and Transportation, and the devotion of additional resources and funding for contractors which aid these departments in their efforts to clear the roadways and other property within the City of Atlanta of downed trees and other debris resulting from Zeta.

SECTION 5. The surge of City resources necessary to address this emergency shall also include the assignment of additional employees of the City of Atlanta Department of Customer Service (ATL311) to ensure that residents shall have the ability to efficiently report damage resulting from Zeta and the City shall be able to ensure that all such reports are swiftly addressed.

SECTION 6. If one or more of the provisions contained in the Order shall be held to be invalid, in violation of the Constitution of the United States, the Georgia Constitution, in violation of Georgia law, or unenforceable in any respect, such invalidity, violation, or unenforceability shall not affect any other provisions herein, but in such case, this Order shall be construed as if such invalid, illegal, or unenforceable provision had never been contained with this Order.

This 31st day of October, 2020.

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