At meteorologists' convention, storm is topic of conversation - CBS46 News

At meteorologists' convention, recent storm is topic of conversation

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Thousands of meteorologists, climatologists and weather experts are in Atlanta for the 94th annual American Meteorological Society convention, less than a week after one of the worst winter storms in the city's history.

Though Tuesday's snow and ice storm was not on the agenda for any seminars or lectures during the six-day convention, Dr. Conrad Lautenbacher said the storm and its effects on the city was a clear topic of conversation among weather experts in attendance.

"It's been in a number of my personal conversations so far," said Lautenbacher, the former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under President George W. Bush.

"It (the storm) becomes an example for some of the meetings that we have (at the convention)," he said. "There needs to be more awareness to shut down industries, to shut down schools, to do things before snow falls."

Gordon McBean, a professor from London, Ontario, said Atlanta's storm made headlines in even in Canada, where two inches of snow can be a regular event.

"Some people said to me, ‘You're not really still going (to Atlanta), are you?'" said McBean. "(The storm) was perceived as being a very major event."

He and Lautenbacher both agreed Atlanta's storm and the effects of it need to serve as a reminder of the need of public officials to make bold decisions in preparation for weather events.

"Clearly, the forecasts in many cases are not taken seriously," said McBean.

"When you hear that you're going to get into potential conditions like we had, you don't send anyone to school in the morning," said Lautenbacher. "So you shut down before the snow starts, not after it's all started."

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