City of Columbus issues plan for upcoming freezing weather

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Columbus Consolidated Government has canceled the City Council meeting that was originally schedule for this evening, Tues. Jan. 28, due to forecasted sleet and snow.

The City also shut down all non-essential services by 1 p.m.

As they continue to monitor weather projections, the current plan of action is as follows:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014:
12 noon to 3:00 p.m. we should expect sleet and freezing rain (hard freeze tonight through Wednesday morning). It is projected to transition to snow after midnight.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014:
1:00 a.m. expect snow. Above freezing Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday, January 30, 2014:
Sun comes out, some melting on roads, but it will refreeze overnight. Weather should be okay for travel Thursday.

Employees Work Schedule for Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday:

Today / Tuesday January 28, 2014 - All employees "except" emergency and other essential personnel (at department head's discretion) will be allowed to leave at 12 noon.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - Employees will report to work on regular business schedule. If weather conditions / roads are too bad for travel, a decision will be made to delay reporting to work until 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning (we will communicate to employees Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning regarding what time to report to work).

Thursday, January 30, 2014 - Resume CCG's regular business schedule

City Council Meeting Scheduled for Tonight / Tuesday January 28, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.:
City Council meeting has been canceled. We will reschedule items listed on the agenda to the 1st or 2nd Tuesday in February once we have confirmation. Stay tuned.

Public Works Department:
In preparation for adverse weather conditions, Public Works is doing the following:

Loading the sand spreaders, making sure they are operational and fueling all vehicles. Loading sand on flat beds that can be shoveled off on icy patches. Loading barricades to block off dangerous areas when identified. Sharpening chain saws and making sure they are fueled and operational to respond to trees or limbs down. Crews are notified that they are on standby.

Once the event starts, the priority will be bridges and hot spots (those areas that tend to stay wet on the roadways.) Supervisors are out looking for problem areas and checking calls from 311 and 911 and assuring their crews get to critical areas.

311 Citizen Services Center:
All CSC Techs are on standby. The 311 Call Center will be open to accept non emergency calls for assistance, if weather goes as projected. The Code Red Telephone System formerly known as Global Connect will be used as necessary to communicate with citizens regarding conditions. Citizens should report down trees and limbs to 311 (706 653 4000).

911 Center:
The 911 Center will be fully staffed for emergency calls.

Engineering / Traffic Engineering:
On call to respond as necessary.

Homeless Effort:
The SafeHouse will be temporarily moving to Rose Hill Methodist Church (2101 Hamilton) later today. They will open at 8am tomorrow, Tuesday, and remain open until Thursday evening after supper. The Red Cross is providing 30 cots, blankets and
pillows for Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Rose Hill serves a full supper every Wednesday evening and the last Thursday of each month (which is this week). So, they will have plenty of good food, warmth and safety for all who need.


CPD and Fire EMS:
Activating their usual plan of action during these events

METRA Bus Service:
Advising customers and staff METRA will be operational until further notice.

Should the roads become hazardous METRA will stop bus service immediately for safety reasons. Supervisors will be riding the routes beginning Tuesday morning before dispatch opens and through out the day.

If and when Supervisors report road conditions are hazardous, we will stop bus service and bring the buses into the Transfer Center. At that time we will call agencies (i.e., dialysis) and 911 to alert them that buses are no longer in service. This is the same protocol we followed in the winter of 2011 and it was successful.

Parks and Recreation:
Community Schools After-school programs follow the MCSD schedule.

Comer Center will remain a Warming Location for the homeless if it is needed; however it has not be requested at this time.

Park Services Division: trucks and equipment are being gassed today in preparation for the weather tomorrow. Crews will be ready to handle clearing parks and facilities as needed.

All supervisors and managers will be on standby.

Columbus Civic Center / Ice Rink:
The Circus show for tonight has been canceled. Those with tickets will be able to use them for tomorrow. The Ice Rink is closed following Noon stick time - Auburn and CHA have canceled their programming tonight.
The American Red Cross suggests some basic steps to make sure you remain safe:
- Meet with your family or household members.
- Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
- Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
- If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.
- Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency
- Choose two places to meet:
     -Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire
     -Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
- Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.

Plan what to do if you have to evacuate
- Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.
- Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable.
- Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.
At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:
- Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Flashlight
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area

Columbus Consolidated Government has canceled the City Council meeting that was originally schedule for this evening, Tues. Jan. 28, due to forecasted sleet and snow.

The City also shut down all non-essential services by 1 p.m.

As they continue to monitor weather projections, the current plan of action is as follows: