ST. MARYS, Ga. – The St. Marys Police Department announced Tuesday that it has a new tool for keeping the public safe during severe weather. The department said the new weather station is needed to improve response times.
During Hurricane Matthew, first responders weren’t able to get an accurate idea of how fast the wind speeds were.
“One thing that we encountered during the Hurricane Matthew response was a need for current weather conditions in St. Marys,” the department said in a news release. “So we purchased and installed a weather station that is networked and accessible via the Internet at all times.”
While responding during Hurricane Matthew last year, the department relied on the National Weather Service’s data, which officers said created some challenges.
“There were a couple of instances where we had to redirect some ambulance services around on Highway 17,” Lt. Shannon Brock said. “Actually, one of the ambulances ran into a vehicle that was actually stopped by a tree that fell and crushed the truck.”
Brock said the weather station will help first responders know the exact velocity of wind speeds hitting the area. He said the new station is networked through the internet, where anyone can check the current weather conditions online.
“It gives local reporting data that we know is right here on top of our building, versus something that might be coming out of Jacksonville and based on a set of analytical data,” Brock said.
Brock said knowing exactly how dangerous the winds are will help first responders know if they should be out on the roads during severe weather, making it safer for them and for the entire community.
“Because we now have the ability to tell what the weather is doing locally right here in St. Mary’s we can better make decisions to respond to those calls for need,” Brock said.
Click here for a link to the department’s weather station website.