Posts Tagged ‘Inclement Weather’

State Agencies Deliver Winter Storm Internal Review and Action Plan

On Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal received the internal review and action plan he ordered from state agency heads involved in emergency response during the winter storm of Jan. 26-30.

“Our state experienced two severe winter storms in two weeks, events that tested the resilience and preparedness of all Georgians,” Deal said. “Following the first storm, I implemented immediate action items as well as initiated an internal review by state agency heads. The action items paid off. Our state for the second storm was more informed and prepared through the cellphones alerts, emails to school superintendents and consultations with local meteorologists. The safety of our citizens is of the utmost importance, and this report will play a key role in shaping the way our state government agencies prepare for and prevent dangerous winter weather situations.”

State agency heads from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation met to examine the events of the winter storm, which was found to be an extremely unusual circumstance based on data from the National Weather Service.

The report includes short- and long-term solutions, some of which have already been successfully implemented. These solutions include:

  • Implement an immediate action plan, which would overhaul the “Ready Georgia” mobile application, trigger cellphone alerts in times of weather-related emergencies, establish a communications plan with school superintendents and create a weather advisory group with local meteorologists
  • Change laws regarding commercial vehicles, establishing stricter enforcement and punishment of those found in violation of the current state law concerning tire chains and emergency equipment
  • Create strike teams of seven vehicles placed in strategic locations to provide rapid response during weather emergencies
  • Improve GDOT’s ability to respond to emergency weather situations through updated equipment, storage, supply needs and enhancements such as pavement sensors to monitor road conditions
  • Promote operational and procedural enhancements with small incremental costs, including creating a Joint Information Center, coordinate communication with the trucking industry and the full utilization of electronic billboards on highways

In addition to its other duties, the Governor’s Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force will review the report and make any further recommendations.

Full report here.

How to prevent your pipes from freezing

Last year, the state of Georgia was hit with unusually cold weather. In the month of January, temperatures frequently dropped below freezing. Nationally, people referred to this as the “polar vortex,” a particularly cold weather front which has caused bitter low temperatures throughout the East coast. Such cold is not only unpleasant, but also potentially dangerous.

In the month of January alone, more than $75 million worth of property damage in the state of Georgia has been attributed to the brutally cold temperatures. Extremely cold temperatures like the ones Georgia has seen over the last month can cause internal damage to property, often in the form of water damage caused by leaking or burst pipes. As many as 34 of Georgia’s state facilities reported damage caused by burst pipes after the January 28, 2014 winter storm rolled through.

The Georgia Department of Administrative Services’ Risk Management division has several suggestions on how to deal with the cold weather and effectively protect property from damage:

  • Temperatures under 20 degrees are considered “threatening,” and you should begin exercising caution when temperatures drop to or below this level
  • Pipes located in attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls are most susceptible to freezing temperatures, and should be monitored carefully during cold times
  • Pipes located near electrical outlets often have much more cold air flowing towards them
  • When building a new house or construction, pipes should ideally only be placed near warm spaces, and should be kept away from “attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls.”
  • A plumber can potentially re-route pipes and place them near warmer areas, which is an especially appealing option in older houses or facilities
  • If pipes cannot be moved, you can place more insulation onto them to protect them. Different forms of pipe insulation can be bought at most hardware stores
  • If pipes are exposed to cold air through any holes in the walls, these holes should be filled up and protected as best as possible
  • Turning on a faucet during extremely cold times can help break the pressure that pipes have. Even just allowing the faucet to drip a small bit can prevent the pipe from bursting.
  • If a pipe has already burst, it is important to call a plumber and to immediately turn off the water flow at the main water valve.
  • For those going on vacation or leaving their homes, it is important to keep your house at a moderate temperature. If a house is too cold, it may be more susceptible to freezing pipes.

And remember to take care of yourself as well as your property when the temperature drops below freezing!