SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C., RECOGNIZED AS "STORMREADY"
Feb. 22, 2005 - Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognized Surfside Beach, S.C., as a leader by naming it among the agency’s “StormReady” communities. 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 to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Tom Matheson, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Wilmington, N.C. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event.”
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, Oklahoma area. There are now more than 850 StormReady communities in 47 states.
At the Surfside Beach Town Council meeting at 6:30 p.m., February 22, Tom Matheson will present a certificate and two special StormReady signs to town officials. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, at which time the county will go through a recertification process.
“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” said 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 forecasts and warnings and to alert the public;
- Create a system that monitors local weather conditions;
- 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 Matheson. 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 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 action when severe weather threatens,” Matheson 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) 763-8331
Related Web sites:
NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov
An image of the StormReady sign and more program information is available at: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov