• Winter storm task force issues final report


    ATLANTA - A severe weather task force formed after a winter storm crippled metro Atlanta presented its recommendations to Gov. Nathan Deal.
    Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant was the only television reporter to obtain a copy of the final report issued Thursday afternoon.
    Diamant has been closely following the actions of the state since a winter storm left thousands of drivers stranded on highways across north Georgia in late January.
    “Our work doesn’t end today. It really is a second start,” committee chairman Bart Gobeil said.
    The task force is made up of state agency leaders, business leaders, elected officials, law enforcement, school superintendents and meteorologists – including Severe Weather Team 2 chief meteorologist Glenn Burns.
    They had just 60 days to develop a list of critical changes and improvements to avoid problems and paralysis in winter weather. The committee finished their work in 41 days.
    “We were able to put those egos aside and work together for the betterment of our state," Gobeil said.
    The recommendations include holding the Georgia Emergency Management Agency responsible and accountable for coordinating the state’s emergency response, establishing a set of internal and external communication protocols and infrastructure improvements such as a statewide system of temperature and road sensors.
    “With all the additional data we’re getting, that’s going to go into the computer models. It’s going to help us forecast better. We’re going to know when that snow is coming and we’re going to know much better how heavy it’s going to be,” said Burns who pitched the sensor idea.
    Deal promised to put the 37-page report into action.
    “It’s not going to be a piece of paper that we simply stack on a bookcase somewhere. We’re going to implement it,” Deal said.
    Deal added that state agencies will rehearse the plans once they are put into place. The state budget will include $14.5 million so the Georgia DOT can purchase additional snow equipment.

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