Wednesday November 25th, 2015 8:32PM

GDOT apologizes for erroneous weather alert messages

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- A little more than a week after snow trapped commuters in cars and children on school buses in metro Atlanta, state officials say they overreacted to information from federal forecasters and posted incorrect information on giant message boards over freeways, warning drivers of a new storm watch.

The signs flashed late Wednesday and into early Thursday, but the National Weather Service had issued no such watch.

"In our desire to proactively inform the traveling public of potential hazardous road conditions, we overreacted to a weather statement from the National Weather Service and incorrectly posted watch and warning messages on our overhead message signs," the Georgia Department of Transportation said in a statement. "We apologize for any confusion this may have caused."

National Weather Service forecasters had called state officials early Thursday to alert them to the error.

"We don't know why that happened," said Brian Lynn, a meteorologist at the weather service's metro Atlanta office in Peachtree City, Ga.

The large overhead message boards, seen by the millions of motorists who commute into and out of Atlanta, alert drivers to delays, wrecks and potential hazards such as bad weather.

A spokeswoman with the state transportation agency, Natalie Dale, said the boards typically display the words "watch" or "warning" only after the weather service has issued such an alert for an area. The department gets the information from the weather service through public sources, she said.

The Department of Transportation is developing additional guidelines for posting weather information on the message boards and other communication tools, including social media, Dale said.

Gov. Nathan Deal was among state and local leaders heavily criticized for the government's response to two inches of snow last week that led to gridlocked roads in metro Atlanta. Some people were stuck in their cars overnight along highways or abandoned them.

On Monday, the governor vowed to improve storm response and announced several changes in how the state communicates with Georgians before storms strike. Those reforms did not specifically address how weather information is conveyed on the freeway signs.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 10 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 10 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 10 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 10 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 10 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 10 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 10 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 10 months ago )
The big getaway: Thanksgiving travelers hit the road and pack airports, despite terror fears
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The big Thanksgiving getaway went into full swing Wednesday with drivers delighted by the lowest November gas prices in years and many airline passengers undaunted by terrorism fear...
7:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Traffic slowed Wed. afternoon by overturned dump truck on Candler Hwy.
Traffic was slowed on Candler Highway in Gainesville Wednesday afternoon because of an overturned dump truck near Cottrell Trailers.
3:39PM ( 4 hours ago )
Gainesville officials say 2,600 gallons of sludge accidentally pumped into Flat Creek
City officials said an estimated 2,600 gallons of sludge was accidentally pumped into Flat Creek Tuesday evening.
2:31PM ( 6 hours ago )
Man faces charges in Hall subdivision home invasion
A 20-year-old Gainesville man faces charges in an early September home invasion in Hall County.
12:12PM ( 8 hours ago )
Police probe killing after man found dead inside Lawrenceville home
Police are investigating the killing of a man whose body was found inside a home in the Lawrenceville area outside Atlanta.
By Associated Press
12:05PM ( 8 hours ago )