Ga. governor implements immediate reforms for winter storm warnings

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal today announced immediate reforms for how the state communicates with Georgians when under a winter storm warning.

Concurrently, the governor named the Governor’s Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force comprised of state officials, meteorologists and other experts. The group will advise on implementation of reforms and suggest short-term and long-term solutions.

“Effective immediately, a storm warning will trigger a message to cell phones in targeted areas, as in the Amber Alert system, and advise against road travel,” Deal said in a statement. “We will go one step further with school superintendents by emailing them weather condition updates, so that they have the most up-to-date information when determining whether to close schools.

“We will overhaul the state emergency app with shelter information, alternative transportation routes and other emergency-related information,” Deal added. “Lastly, as storms approach, I have ordered Georgia Emergency Management Agency to consult with local meteorologists on current weather modeling and predictions.

“We made reforms after the 2011 storm on how we treat our roads, and because of that, we have more road treatment facilities located in more critical areas. All the equipment and the all supplies in the world won’t help if the trucks can’t get on the roads. We’ve got to communicate quicker and more effectively on the front end to keep as many vehicles off the road as possible.”

The preparedness task force will meet in an open forum to deliver preparedness recommendations to Deal “in a timely manner,” according to a news release. The board will convene as early as schedules will allow and issue a report within 60 days. An internal review by agency heads involved in emergency response will yield a report and action plan to the governor within 10 days.

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