Deadly Georgia storms prompt review

Governor asks agencies to assess safety responses

ATLANTA -- Last week's storms prompted Gov. Nathan Deal to order a review of the state's weather-warning systems, he announced today.


In addition to the loss of 15 lives, the storms caused $75 million in damage to insured property, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens announced.

Deal said the loss of life would have been greater if then-Gov. Zell Miller had not instituted a review following a deadly storm in 1998 that led to the installation of today's warning devices.

Deal announce that he has instructed the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to oversee a conference of agencies from across the state for a survey of existing mechanisms and the gaps in them.

"We will make sure that next time we have even better warning," he said.

The Miller reviews led to construction of warning sirens, distribution of weather radios and establishment of enhanced 911 telephone systems that call people with warnings. New technology and new neighborhoods since the 1990s may have left gaps in the warning network, Deal said.

"We need to find out which ones work best" and where the gaps are, the governor said.

He intends to use some of the expected federal disaster aid to purchase the warning equipment.

The same storms that swept across Georgia on Wednesday and Thursday took nearly 250 Alabama lives and spawned 11 tornadoes throughout the Southeast, the second deadliest tornado disaster in U. S. history.

In Georgia, the damage touched 16 counties and led to both state and federal disaster declarations.
Hudgens said his cost estimate includes all types of insured property.

“This estimate includes insured damage to cars as well as homes and businesses,” Hudgens said.

The commissioner also ordered insurance companies to give a break to customers in effected counties if they're late mailing a premium payment because of storm damage.




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