NWS recognizes 2,000th StormReady® Community
Date Posted: January 17, 2013
The National Weather Service recognized Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, in Texas, as the 2,000th StormReady® Community, during a ceremony held January 11. The recognition represents an important milestone for the StormReady program, which began when the NWS Tulsa, Okla., forecast office determined that lives and property could best be protected from hazardous weather when the entire “warning system” worked together.
“This is certainly an important milestone in the evolution of the StormReady program, which began 14 years ago when our forecast office in Tulsa launched with the program with a handful of recognitions in Oklahoma,” said NWS Southern Region Director Bill Proenza. “Since then, StormReady has proven to be a tremendous success in enhancing community awareness and preparedness across the nation when severe weather occurs.”
When starting the StormReady program, the Tulsa forecast office first engaged state and local emergency managers to craft guidelines to improve severe weather preparedness through better communication and coordination. These guidelines formed the foundation of the voluntary StormReady program to help communities prepare for and respond to hazardous weather conditions.
In 1999, the Tulsa office launched the program by recognizing seven StormReady Counties in Oklahoma. Since then, StormReady has expanded geographically to 49 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Guam. The program has also grown well beyond county recognitions to include everything from tiny boroughs to large cities to military installations, government facilities, federal and state parks, Indian nations, universities and businesses, ranging from corporate campuses to amusement parks. In August, the internationally-recognized rock band Linkin Park became the first band in the nation to receive StormReady Supporter recognition, for the band’s 2012 world tour.
“StormReady is a hugely successful program because it brings people together to protect their communities and raises awareness of the weather threats in their areas,” said Donna Franklin, with the StormReady program at NWS Headquarters. “It empowers local governments, officials, managers and employers to better prepare for and respond to weather threats.”
Since 1999, NWS has added the StormReady Supporter program for smaller entities that demonstrate the spirit of StormReady, but cannot meet all guidelines. NWS also implemented the StormReady Hero program to recognize individuals in StormReady communities whose efforts saved lives during a dangerous weather event by putting their own lives on the line.
The StormReady program is also part of NWS’s working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association.
Not only does the program bring together people to protect their communities and raise awareness of the weather threats, it also strengthens relationships between NWS and local emergency managers.
“The recognition of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi as the 2,000th StormReady community is a true testament to the Navy’s commitment to public safety,” said Scott Cordero, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Corpus Christi forecast office. “In the latest site inspection, it was clear the station exceeded all the requirements for StormReady status.”
Proenza added, “We will continue to advance the program community-by-community as we strive to build a Weather-Ready Nation.”
StormReady empowers local governments, officials, managers and employers to take actions to prepare for and respond to weather threats. StormReady will continue to grow as more people recognize its value in building communities resilience to hazards.