Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (C), speaks to the media as Public Safety Director Mark McDonough (L), and Georgia National Guard Director General Jim Butterworth listen at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, January 30, 2014.
Less than a week after a winter storm stranded several thousand motorists on interstates around Atlanta, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed a task force to better communicate with residents about future storms.
The Governor’s Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force consists of meteorologists from the four television stations, officials from transportation and public safety departments, school superintendents, state legislators, the business community and cell phone providers.
Deal on Monday also said an Amber Alert-style system would send a message to cell phones in targeted areas to advise against traveling. The state would also overhaul the state emergency mobile application with shelter information, alternative transportation routes and other emergency-related information, Deal said.
Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed received considerable criticism for their response in the days since last week’s storm that brought one to three inches of snow around metro Atlanta, and caused major traffic problems.
Deal, who praised local meteorologists for their forecast ahead of the storm, said he’s ordered the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to consult with local meteorologists on current weather modeling and predictions.
The task force will meet in an open setting and deliver recommendations to Deal within 60 days of its first meeting.
An internal review by agency heads involved in emergency response will give a report and action plan to the governor within 10 days.
“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,” Deal said at an afternoon news conference. “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 task force members are listed below:
Bart Gobeil (Chair), Governor’s Office Chief Operating Officer
Charley English, GA Emergency Management Agency, Executive Director
Keith Golden, Dept. of Transportation, Commissioner
Mark Williams, Dept. of Natural Resources, Commissioner
Mark McDonough, Dept. of Public Safety, Commissioner
Jim Butterworth, Dept. of Defense, Major General
Jannine Miller, GA Regional Transportation Authority, Executive Director
Chris Tomlinson, State Road and Tollway Authority, Executive Director
Glenn Burns, WSB, Chief Meteorologist
Markina Brown, CBS, Chief Meteorologist
Ken Cook, Fox 5, Chief Meteorologist
Chesley McNeil, 11 Alive, Meteorologist
Robert Avossa, Fulton County Schools, Superintendent
Emily Lembeck, Marietta City Schools, Superintendent
Michael Thurmond, DeKalb County Schools, Superintendent
Keith Parker, MARTA, General Manager/CEO
Ed Crowell, Georgia Motor Trucking, President and CEO
Jeffrey Parker, HNTB Corp.; former Connecticut DOT commissioner Vice President
Anthony Wilson, Georgia Power, Executive VP, Customer Service and Operations
Jerry Donovan, Georgia Transmission Corporation, President and CEO
Hala Moddelmog, Metro Atlanta Chamber, President
Gil West, Delta Senior VP, Airport Customer Service and TechOps
Steve Thompson, GA State Senate, District 33
Steve Gooch, GA State Senate, District 51
Jay Roberts, GA House of Representatives, District 155
Mike Glanton, GA House of Representatives, District 75
Kelvin Cochran, City of Atlanta, Fire Chief
George Turner, Atlanta Police Department, Chief of Police
Awaiting Confirmation, National Weather Service
Awaiting Confirmation, AT&T
Awaiting Confirmation, Verizon Wireless
Awaiting Confirmation, Metro Atlanta Municipality