The Union Recorder

February 12, 2014

Weather highlights need for infrastructure talk


The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE —

For many regions of the state, including Central Georgia, this week’s weather outlook seems like a repeat from two weeks ago. Most of us are keeping a watchful eye in anticipation of just how much of an impact the ice and rain will have on Baldwin County.

Since the snowstorm that blanketed much of the state two weeks ago, Georgia officials have been under significant national scrutiny in the wake of the response to the storm.

And rightfully so.

Though our area was spared, there are lessons we can all take from the events that transpired, ones that can be utilized at that state and local level this week. These are lessons we must all use to plan and prepare accordingly.

While Baldwin County was also hit with the wintry mix of snow and sleet we were spared the damage and confusion that paralyzed the Atlanta metro area that we saw play out on television.

We can, however, take lessons from what we saw.

County officials have been in recent discussions on the need for technology upgrades and infrastructure communication, which in emergency weather situations is sorely needed. In situations like the cold snap that resulted in county water issues and the boil water advisory getting the message out to residents is imperative. Most importantly, however, is getting the correct information out clearly and quickly to all those affected.

Coordinating this needed information is also vital. One of the key areas scrutinized during the Atlanta storms was lack of communication between the school systems and local and state government as to how to stagger school buses and release times for students, which coupled with the release of private business employees, played out in the form of massive traffic delays.

Both the county and Milledgeville Police have recently made upgrades to their websites and on the county’s end additional improvements are in discussion. The information across mediums needs to be consistent as well to cut down on confusion and eliminate misinformation.

Baldwin escaped the most recent snow episode unscathed but this week’s storm impact may very well be different. We must remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry and prepare for the worst when it comes to weather calamities, even if it triggers modest personal inconveniences.

Being overly prepared is not a bad thing when it’s weighed against the potential danger of a major weather threat.

Serious questions have been raised in the wake of the snow and ice disaster that hit the Atlanta area, questions that if effectively examined can quite possibly save lives this time or the next.

While these weather events are still ingrained in our recent memory we must all take heed personally as well and above keep a watchful eye, take the necessary precautions and exercise sound judgment. Taking steps such as eliminating unnecessary travel on potentially icy roadways and makings sure phones and other electronics are properly charged are always important.

We never know when the next major storm may hit Baldwin County. Forecasters warned Tuesday of the potential for a catastrophic ice event today and on into Thursday.

Taking the events of earlier this month under advisement — at every level, whether it’s in our own homes, from school officials, emergency management and local and state law enforcement — is effort well spent.