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Storm Costs

Alabama declared a state of emergency before the winter storm hit, which could mean money and support from the government. But across the state line in Florida our local governments have been dealing with the weather without any guidance from Tallahassee.

Channel Three takes a look at the cost of the storm --both in time and money-- in this Waste Watch report.

We have to deal with hurricanes -- and tropical storms -- but winter ice storms are certainly something out of the ordinary.
But as with all weather events -- there is a cost associated for our counties, schools, businesses and even our citizens.

We talked to Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. It took some time and preparation, then some extra man hours for city and county employees... And law enforcement agencies... But the cost of this winter storm for our local governments is relatively low. Most of the equipment and materials needed were already in place.

What about our schools? All three counties lost three canceled days... But facilities made out well... Just a few dings here and there.

Sandy Moore/Principal, Hellen Caro Elementary "Did get here this morning and there was one portable that had a burst pipe. The district was here first thing and had it taken care of."

Parents -- and students -- want to know if the days will have to be made up. Santa Rosa is asking the state to grant a waiver for the three days... If that doesn't happen, days would be made up in March and at the end of the year.

The Okaloosa School District built two extra days into their schedule, and they believe there are enough extra hours to make up for the third snow day. So it appears there will be no  make-up days.

Escambia built in three days... So no days need to be made up...

Sandy Moore "My understanding is we will not have to make up these days. It was a good call. We are all warm and safe today. The boys and girls were glad to be back in the building."

The biggest impact from the storm is being felt by our local businesses and their employees. Jim Green owns The Fisherman's Corner restaurant and Perdido Seafood. He had to shut down operations for both...

Jim Green/business owner "It really, really hurts because we're just now coming out of about three months of no business. You're just staring to claw yourself out of the hole, and get your bills paid. The next thing you know, wham, you lose three days of business."

The employees are also feeling the pinch.

Jim Green "Especially during the winter, they get their hours cut. Especially if they're serving, they don't hardly make any tips. Business was just starting to pick up last week, so they're thinking I can get caught up on my car note or whatever. And then boom, they lose three days of income, and so it's tough for everybody."

It looks any unexpected costs from this winter ice storm for our three Northwest Florida counties should be minimal. Those numbers should be in next week.