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Raleigh Issues Report On Surprise Snowfall Gridlock

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh's city manager released a report Friday that details future plans for unexpected weather events after a surprise snowfall on Jan. 19 caused gridlock in the area.

The report, which was issued to the City Council and Mayor Charles Meeker, pointed to areas that the city would try to improve to avoid similar problems in the future.

One area of the report said that the volume of calls to 911 could be used to help judge when the city's command post is initiated. Monitoring calls would help officials decide how serious the weather event has become. During the Jan. 19 snowfall, it took officials some time to realize the scope of the problems that were developing on roads.

City Manager's Report On Unexpected Snow On Jan. 19


Jan. 19 Snowfall Gridlock

The report also suggested that in the future, sections of Interstate-40, the Beltine and other icy roads could be completely closed so they can be treated. Part of that system would include more use of the DOT's message boards to tell drivers where to avoid.

Another area of the report said that Wake County Public Schools had agreed to immediately notify the Emergency Communication Center and the Wake County Emergency Management whenever they decided to release students early.

City Manager J. Russell Allen broke up the target areas into four groups: communications, education, collaboration and resources.

The report said that the city and North Carolina DOT are exploring locating a shared salt storage barn in a more central location. Currently, the city has a barn on West Street in downtown and the DOT has two facilities at the N.C. Fairgrounds and RDU airport.

Technology areas were addressed in the report, with acknowledgement that the city's traffic light system needs improvement. An idea in the report also said that GPS locators could be placed on school buses to help officials learn the progress of routes during a weather event.

Bev White is leading the school system's newly developed Emergency Management Task Force. She is aware that most of the solutions come with a price tag.

"Our charge was not to start with a set amount of money and see what we can deliver for that," she said. "Our charge was to recommend the optimum course of action. We'll price out optimum course and see where we go from there."

Other areas of the report said that education of the public on how to drive during a snow event would be beneficial, specifically making sure that motorists keep intersections clear.

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