Who to Call During Weather Emergencies

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  Snow in southwest Georgia!

It doesn't happen often so when winter weather strikes, it's important to know who to call to find out about trouble on the roads.

But in Columbus, there's 311- the Citizen's Service Center- then there's 911 and 511, the Department of Transportation's hotline.

So which one should you dial?

The answer, simply put, is complicated.

Columbus city officials and police ask folks to call 311.

"During normal work hours Monday through Friday, I recommend you call 311 down at the Government Center. They will be abreast of any road conditions. Then after work, call 911," said Gary Stickles, Director of Public Services.

Officials say tying up 911's emergency lines isn't a concern because they have so many and can field weather-related calls quickly.

But what about the Georgia DOT?

"Anybody that's traveling around on the interstates and state routes should call 511. That is a system that we've had in place for a few years now and we monitor that. Individuals can call into that system-it's a free call- and can work their way through to find out if there's any weather-related incidents, road closures or construction," said Kimberly Larson, Communications Officer for District 3 of the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Columbus and DOT officials say no injuries were reported in the recent weather events.

As for the DOT's 511 system, it is linked to other states like Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida so if you're traveling out of state, you can call and find out if there's any trouble on the roads during your trip.