NOAA RECOGNIZES MARION COUNTY, S.C., STORMREADY
Oct. 12 — Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognized Marion County, S.C, a leader by naming it one of the agency's StormReady counties today. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"StormReady encourages counties to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Michael Caropolo, meteorologist-in-charge at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Wilmington, N.C. " South Carolina and Marion County have a long history of severe weather and it is the goal of "StormReady" to reduce the impact of severe weather in the state. The state experiences about a dozen weather-related fatalities a year and we are working hard to reduce that number."
The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help organizations such as counties, cities, military installations, universities, or other community groups develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats. The program is voluntary, and provides communities with clear-cut advice from a partnership between the local NWS Weather Forecast Office and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 770 StormReady communities in 47 states.
During a presentation today at the regularly scheduled County Council meeting, NWS officials presented a StormReady recognition letter and special StormReady signs to Marion County commissioners. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the county will go through a recertification process.
"Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and 10 hurricanes impact the United States annually. Potentially deadly weather can impact every person in the country. That's why the National Weather Service developed the StormReady program."
To be recognized as StormReady, a county must:
- Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
- Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public
- Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally
- Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
"The United States is the most severe weather prone region of the world," said Johnson. "The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady will help us create better prepared counties throughout the country."
"Just like counties, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, the National Weather Service plans to educate every American about what to do when severe weather strikes because it is ultimately each individual's responsibility to protect him or herself. Only you can save your own life. The best warnings in the world won't save you if you don't take action when severe weather threatens," Caropolo added.
NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA's National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.
Tom Matheson National Weather Service (910) 762-8331 ext 223
Marcie Katcher (631) 244-0149
Linda Grice - Marion County, S.C. Emergency Management (843) 423-8270
Related Web sites:
NOAA National Weather Service: http://www.weather.gov
NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr
An image of the StormReady sign and more program information is available at http://www.stormready.noaa.gov