So the lack of recognition of Severe Weather Awareness Week in our area is disappointing.
Gov. Robert Bentley declared Feb. 17-22 as a time to prepare for the weather hazards that we experience most frequently in Alabama — thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes and flash flooding.
Yet no local agencies planned events or took full advantage of social media to tell the public about the importance of being informed, making a plan and building a kit.
Also, no local municipalities participated in this weekend’s sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items. Ironically, Jasper’s own Sen. Greg Reed co-sponsored the bill to create the annual exemption.
Several officials contacted by the Daily Mountain Eagle at both the city and county level did not seem to be sufficiently informed of the event.
One noted a difference in the numerous reminders received leading up to the state’s school sales tax holiday each August and the last-minute notification for the severe weather preparedness weekend. Officials cannot participate in or promote an event unless they know about it first.
An annual sales tax holiday for storm readiness supplies was a key recommendation of the governor’s Tornado Recovery Action Council. The council also saw the need for an ongoing awareness campaign that educates the public about how to prepare for a natural disaster.
The state now has an emergency preparedness campaign in place, ReadyAlabama.
Other groups, including several locally, have made strides since April 27th in educating the public about how to protect themselves and their families from severe weather.
However, there is work still to be done.
We at the Daily Mountain Eagle would like to see the day when every person in Walker County recognizes Severe Weather Awareness Week in some way, and we are eager to work with any individuals or agencies who share that vision.
— Daily Mountain Eagle