Flooding, derechos, and superstorms brought strange weather to north central West Virginia in 2012. Preston County officials said helping residents stay safe in the future begins with learning from the past.
"2012 brought some challenges with the weather for us. We're always used to having the weather , but we kind of hit some weather patterns we were not used to seeing," said Justin Wolf, Preston County Office of Emergency Management's assistant director Justin Wolf.
Heavy flooding in February was followed by a derecho storm that caught many by surprise and left thousands without power. And then in October, Superstorm Sandy dumped heavy snow upwards of two feet in areas, again leaving thousands without power.
"Ultimately in 2012, you learned you can expect the unexpected. And we see some technology out there that will help us do our jobs more efficiently, and therefore help the citizens of this county as well," said Wolf
The office of emergency management has said installation of two new monitors, and a smart board that were already planned to be installed when Sandy hit, but other projects like added phone lines, even more monitors, and a computer program that helps emergency responders track closed roads have been fast-tracked to the top of their priority list.
"We always teach preparedness to people, we want to be prepared our self," said Wolfe. "That's our whole goal it to try to streamline and be more efficient any ware we can. And by doing so we'll help the residents as well."
OEM said they also need to help people be more prepared.
"I would just keep recommending and reminding people to have a week's worth of stuff. Especially these times of years when we know we'll get snow. When spring comes and we'll know we'll get storms," said Preston County Commission President Craig Jennings.
OEM also stresses that you have to prepare for the unexpected, and even if you didn't see strange weather in 2012 you never know when it may strike and it's important to contact your local OEM to make sure you are always prepared.