"I've gotten the message loud and clear and I'm going to act like it and do something about it," Mayor Kasim Reed told reporters at the Atlanta Press Club. Photos: Freezing temperatures sweep U.S. Photos: Freezing temperatures sweep U.S. Hero doctor braves storm to perform surgery Governor: I apologize to Atlanta drivers Mom with baby waits 18 hours in traffic
Reed said he would be more aggressive in handling any future events, even if that means using his bully pulpit to persuade others not under his authority to act. "I'm going to publicly say that the city of Atlanta is closing and we believe everybody in the city should close right away, and anybody who doesn't agree, they can take my seat on CNN."
That was an apparent reference to a testy interview Reed had Wednesday with CNN's Carol Costello.
Reed acknowledged that the image of his city has taken a hit in the public eye, but predicted it would rebound. "I think we'll earn it back, day by day, and I'm confident that there will be a severe weather event and we'll be able to show that we have the ability to respond."
On Friday, the last of the more than 2,000 cars that were abandoned when 2.6 inches of snow overwhelmed Atlanta's ability to cope were being picked up by their owners. By Friday morning, only about a dozen were left on interstates and state roads, said Ken Davis, a spokesman for Georgia's Emergency Management Agency.
Government help, which many said was impossible to find in the immediate aftermath of the storm, was available Thursday, when the National Guard and State Patrol offered free rides to abandoned cars, five free gallons of gas and a jump-start.
On Thursday night, the state began towing -- at state expense -- unclaimed cars.
The Atlanta Police Department said it would waive impounding fees for those cars it towed, though it was just one of many agencies dealing with abandoned cars.
By Sunday, the temperature should reach the 60's in parts of the Southeast.
The governor also vowed to move more aggressively and more quickly before any future storms, even if that means more false alarms.
"I accept responsibility for the fact that we did not make preparation early enough to avoid these consequences," Deal said Thursday. "I'm not looking for a scapegoat. I'm the governor, the buck stops with me." Atlanta storm blame game Deep South in a deep freeze Traffic eases for most of Atlanta Officer delivers baby on icy road Dude, where's my car?
Many people spent the night in their cars Tuesday, trapped in the gridlock. Some students were stuck on school buses, others had to shelter overnight in their schools.
GEMA's director apologized for not cranking up emergency operations six hours earlier than he did.
"I got this one wrong," Charley English said.
Reed cited the mass exodus from his city as largely responsible for the gridlock and said the schedule for sending people home should have been staggered.
He acknowledged that a "lack of experience" in dealing with severe weather events in Atlanta played a role.
Reed has managerial control over most, but not all, of Fulton County. But greater Atlanta comprises 28 counties with 140 cities and towns sprawled over an area the size of Massachusetts, and