You hear it from 13WMAZ meteorologists regularly.... Early warnings for severe weather save lives.
That also applies to forecasters who work to protect people and property at Robins Air Force Base.
Lorra Lynch Jones went Behind the Lines... to learn that their watch area extends far beyond the base gates.
It spans around the globe. .
Roddy Nixon watches a tattered storm lazily make its way up the eastern seaboard.
It's size and direction don't concern him... Not the way hurricanes past alarmed this 30 year... weather-watching veteran.
<andrew formed in late August. It was a late season storm, but it was a monster. Katrina died and was reborn.>
He remembers Floyd turning I-16 into a parking lot of people evacuating the coast... Alberto burying planes in flood waters
<it was absolute chaos. People didn't know what to do.>
But out of the disasters... Emerged a realization for Nixon's crew:
<it opened our eyes to the importance of preparedness.>
When storms churn.. Robins forecasters don't wait on the National Weather Service to issue watches or warnings.... A major difference from broadcast meteorologists.
They use weather data collected on the flightline... And radars to make calls.
Their advisories often preceed those of the National Weather Service... Because of the volume of people... And assets they protect.
<the early lead times for severe weather are mission critical, allowing people on the flight line to move those aircraft into hangers or in some cases evacuate them to other bases or airfields.>
Each time an aircraft leaves Robins... forecasts from this office follow them.
<that aircraft is ours from take off to touch down anytime, anywhere in the world.>
They're constantly watching conditions in deployed locations... And those with potential American interests.
<were monitoring satellite conditions in Syria. We're in a position where the President at any given time, could give an order for action in that theater.>
If troops put boots on the ground... the units military forecasters often follow.
Senior Airmen Erik White... returned from Kuwait in May.
<we will do a lot of walking out seeing what's going on.>
Overseas... White says they rely on their eyes... And hand-held data collection devices.
Technology isn't always available... But forecasts are just as critical.
<one of the most important weather forecasts of all time was D-DAY. The D-DAy mission was a successful weather mission. It was where we used the weather to exploit our enemies. We still do that today.
They're behind the scenes... But Nixon says... At the forefront of every Department of Defense mission...
<you can give me the key to fort knox, you can give me a Cadillac. Saving those lives, means a hell of a lot more than any of those gifts.>
They're always vigilant... Watching the skies for the weather that's both enemy... And ally.
At Robins Air Force Base... Lorra Lynch Jones.. 13wmaz.. Eyewitness News.>
The forecaster you saw in that story was senior Airman Erik White.
And when he talks about the dangers of severe weather....he knows what he's talking about.
White was struck by lightning.. while stationed at a base in Louisiana.
He was badly burned.. But uses the experience to give people a sense of urgency about getting to safety.. when lightning is nearby.
Over the past month...the Medical Center of Central Georgia cut 50 jobs.
That's about one percent of its work force.
About 47-hundred people work there.
Rhonda Perry...the Chief Financial Officer for the Medical Center says they are adjusting their budgets due to healthcare reform...and don't expect to see as much money coming in from Medicare.
Austin Lewis talked to Perry about the cuts and what the future could hold..
I met with the Chief Financial Officer for the Medical Center of Central Georgia...who broke down their budget for us.
Of those job cuts...10 to 12 were management positions and 35 to 38 were other staff.
Now that can include anything from nurse to office clerks...to registration at the front desk.
But Perry says nursing cuts were minimal.
She also says...they don't expect any further cuts.
<Rhonda Perry:What we have done is to try and right-size trying to position as if there are changes in specific areas, service lines we could make adjustments. We have vacancies continually and turn over and that will position us we believe now to start holding vacancies >
Perry tells me about halfway through this year...they were 13 million dollars in the red...she says they realized that the deficit could have reached 20 million.
Now...they expect to close the year with a 6 million dollar deficit.
Perry says they've cut 9 million dollars...3.3 million from job cuts...the rest from other changes.
<perry: It would be changes in work hours, it could be reductions in actual people, it could be where we identify an area where we can actually make reductions>
Perry says they're adjusting for changes in Medicare and Medicaid....due to the Affordable Care Act.
<perry: we are getting larger and larger cuts for that uninsured population for medicaid that they are assuming part of that would be replaced by the state expansion of medicaid and uninsured and in fact right now with Georgia not expanding those cuts. were going to be very painful.>
Perry says she doesn't expect that these cuts will affect patient care at all.
Austin Lewis 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
Perry says all employees who are being paid below market value...will get raises in January. She said that includes their nurses.
For almost 2 million Georgians who don't have medical insurance...Tuesday is a big day.
Enrollment opens for the Affordable Care Act's online "marketplace" where you can shop for health insurance.
Anita Oh joins us in studio now to break down how it will affect you.
Think of it like a one-stop shop online, where you can shop around for the best health care plan for you.
By the end of enrollment on March 31st, virtually all Americans will need to buy some sort of health insurance plan or face fines.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services says the online marketplace will offer Georgians an average of 50 different health care plans.
There are four different plan levels - bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
Each one has different premiums and out-of-pocket rates.
With the bronze plan...for example....you'll pay lower premiums each month.
But you'll foot more of the bill when you do get medical care.
That changes for each plan level.
So if you need more medical care and visit the doctor often.....you'll probably want to get a gold or platinum plan.
How much you pay in premiums will depend on your age, income and family size.
For example.... a 4-person family in Bibb County could pay around 800 dollars a month for a mid-level care plan.
But that number can drop to 280 a month after tax credits and subsidies.... if the household makes less than 50-thousand dollars a year.
As we count down to the changeover... We'll bring you information for the uninsured... And break down what a health plan will cost you.
In the studio, I'm Anita Oh, 13WMAZ, Eyewitness News. Frank?
If you choose not to buy coverage by March 31, you will have to pay fines and wait until the next enrollment period to buy a plan.
Today... There were more talks about bringing minor league baseball to Macon... But no action.
Katelyn Heck explains why some community leaders want more questions answered before taking a swing at a new ballpark and team.
This baseball stadium is home of the Greenville Drive in South Carolina...
<the team has done well, the attendance is good, and it's also been a major economic driver for the resurgence of downtown Greenville.>
Thursday... Consultants told the Macon Urban Development Authority... That Greenville invested 16 million dollars to build the ballpark in 2006... but since then... over 100 new businesses have moved to town within a half mile of it.
That's the kind of success UDA Chair Chris Sheridan would like to see in Macon.
<we see what Mercer football is doing to liven the vibe of downtown, and so a baseball stadium has that potential, but there's a lot of study that we need to do before we can make that determination.>
Mike Woollen with Odell Consulting says his group would first have to figure out possible sites.
That could take at least a month.
He says... Then they could start to look at options for teams... Finances... And other factors.
<from the time you say, 'let's look at a possible ballpark' to the time you break ground, I've seen it as short as a year. I've seen it be ten to twelve years. This is ultimately about the political wheel and the desire of the community, so there's a lot of steps that have to happen before that, before you see ground being broken.>
But Sheridan says he's not sure if the city is ready to step up to the plate.
<the last thing we need to do is add a study on top of a study. We've got too many studies. So it needs to be incorporated into the context of all of the things that are going on right now>
He says the development authority will discuss the topic again at next month's meeting ... But they probably will not make a decision until 2014 on whether to move forward.
Katelyn Heck 13WMAZ Eyewitness News
The consultants could not say how much a feasibility study or a new ballpark would cost Macon.
In 2002... The Macon Braves finished their twelfth season here...then moved into a new 15 million dollar stadium in Rome.