NOAA RECOGNIZES CITY OF HAMPTON, VA., "STORMREADY"
Dec. 8, 2004 — Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognized the City of Hampton Va., as a leader in Virginia by naming it among the agency's "StormReady" communities today. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach toward improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Bill Sammler, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Wakefield, Va. "The goal of StormReady is to reduce the impact of severe weather in Virginia. The Commonwealth is impacted by a variety of severe weather events annually, ranging from winter storms to tornadoes to hurricanes. The state experiences about 10 weather-related fatalities per year, many due to flooding, and we are working hard to reduce that number."
The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities 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 820 StormReady communities in 47 states, five of which are now located in Virginia.
The presentation of the certificate and StormReady signs to Pete Sommer, Emergency Management Coordinator and Jim Redick, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Hampton, will occur this evening at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, at which time the community will go through a recertification process.
"Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods," said retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes impact the United States annually, and hurricanes are a threat to the Gulf and East Coasts. Potentially deadly weather can affect every person in the country. That's why NOAA's National Weather Service developed the StormReady program."
To be recognized as StormReady, a community 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," Sammler said. "The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady helps us create better prepared communities throughout the country."
"Just like communities, 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 appropriate action when severe weather threatens," Sammler added.
NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The 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.
Bill Sammler, National Weather Service: (757) 899-5732
Pete Sommer/Jim Redick, City of Hampton Emergency Management: (757) 727-6414
Related Web sites:
NOAA’s National Weather Service
NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio
An image of the StormReady sign and more program information is available at: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov