Friday, December 24, 2010 – 09:45 a.m.

Two years ago this week it was the response to predictions of heavy snow that made San Bernardino County officials look bad.

Back then officials in the county public works department didn’t believe forecasts of serious weather systems approaching the areas mountains and valleys.

Thus no advance retention of snow removal contractors was accomplished.

The outcome? Residents unable to traverse the mountains roads buried in snow for days.

This time most of the same county officials ho-hummed multiple forecasts of a series of approaching high-powered storms.

Storms that devastated large portions of the county and displaced hundreds of residents.

Damage occurred which will take weeks, if not months, to repair.

Emergency agency coordination was caught flat-footed and in some cases inter-agency communication, particularly between CALFIRE and San Bernardino County Office of Emergency Services, was by all accounts less than stellar.

CALFIRE is under contract as the fire agency for Highland.

Reportedly CALFIRE didn’t want to play in the same sand box.

In Highland, residents drove around for hours like mice in a maze, looking for any route to leave the area. However, all the major routes were cut off, and no traffic controls with alternate routes were in place.

Surprisingly, the only eastern exit route from Highland (via Mentone), was untouched and open. However most residents never knew.

County officials need to step back and evaluate what happened here.

Taking weather forecasts seriously is a must.

What’s better for all involved? Being over-prepared and have nothing happen or getting caught with your pants down?