People of Weather-Ready Nation: Cheryl Nelson, Mrs. Virginia International

Date Posted: December 18, 2014
Cheryl Nelson, Mrs. Virginia International

NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.

In People of Weather-Ready Nation, we sit down with some of the people responsible for building a Weather-Ready Nation. We recently talked to Cheryl Nelson, Mrs. Virginia International.

1. What does a Weather-Ready Nation mean to you?

A weather-ready nation is a nation where everyone truly realizes that we are ALL prone to natural disasters. People must understand that disasters can and do happen everywhere. We all need to be educated to understand the urgency of a tornado warning and how to prepare for a hurricane or winter storm. We must work together to ensure that our families, neighbors, co- workers, pets and special needs groups know the risks, build a kit and have a plan.

2. How are you helping to build a Weather-Ready Nation?

As a Broadcast Meteorologist, Mrs. Virginia International and a spokesperson for natural disaster preparedness, I volunteer with various organizations to raise awareness about family and pet preparedness through education, speaking engagements and appearances in Virginia and the rest of the United States. In fact, I recently organized and hosted “Coastal Virginia’s Hurricane PrepareAthon Party” with over 30 vendors and 300 guests! I believe that we have to come together as a society to make our nation more resilient. I have created a website dedicated to natural disaster preparedness:

3. What is the biggest challenge you see in making the nation ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme events?

The U.S. is no stranger to disasters... yet, many people feel a false sense of security. According to a report by the American Red Cross, "54 percent of Americans don't prepare because they believe a disaster will not affect them." It is not a matter of IF we will experience another serious natural is a matter of WHEN. It could be days or even weeks for someone to come “to the rescue” after a natural disaster. We need to learn to protect ourselves, our family and our pets. Take personal responsibility. The risk of not preparing could cost you your life.


Cheryl Nelson is an Emmy-nominated Chief Meteorologist for StormPins (a social weather map-based app), a freelance TV Host/Meteorologist and the reigning Mrs. Virginia International where she functions as an International Spokesperson for Natural Disaster Preparedness. Cheryl holds a degree in Meteorology from Penn State University, where she currently serves on the Alumni Board of Directors for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.