Valdosta Daily Times

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February 4, 2014

Governor announces severe weather task force

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday announced the formation of a task force that includes various state and local officials, meteorologists and business leaders charged with making recommendations to improve the state’s response to recent weather events.

Two inches of snow fell on the metro Atlanta area last week and brought traffic to a standstill. Deal and other state officials have faced considerable criticism for the state’s response to the snow, which left tens of thousands stranded on icy, gridlocked roads.

The governor said his office is working on a public alert system similar to one used for missing and endangered children that would be used in certain weather situations.

“Effective immediately, a storm warning will trigger a message to cellphones 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.”

Part of the state’s revised response plan calls for Georgia Emergency Management Agency officials to consult with local meteorologists on weather patterns.

The task force includes officials from several state agencies — including the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety — leaders of local school districts and police departments, meteorologists from several Atlanta television stations and more.  

Deal also said he expects an internal review of the state’s response to the snow fall to be done within 10 days.

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