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Feb. 23, 2005 - Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognized American Express Travel Related Services in Greensboro , N.C. , as a leader by naming it StormReady. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The American Express company, which locally employs around 2400 people, is a leader among businesses and is the first private business in North Carolina to be recognized as StormReady and the third in the nation. "The StormReady recognition is the result of American Express's dedication to their employees and partnering with the Hazardous Weather Preparedness Institute and the National Weather Service," said Jeff Orrock, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Raleigh , N.C.

"The Hazardous Weather Preparedness Institute, lead by Randy Jackson and Steve Marks, worked directly with American Express and the National Weather Service in developing a comprehensive severe weather safety plan to help protect employees. This team effort resulted in American Express being recognized as the first StormReady business in the state," Orrock explained.

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.

On February 23, at 12 p.m. , at the American Express facility in Greensboro , Jeff Orrock will present a certificate and two special StormReady signs to company officials. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, at which time the company 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 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 Orrock. "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," Orrock added.

The NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NOAA 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.

Media contact:

Jeff Orrock, National Weather Service: (919) 515-8203

Related Web sites:

NOAA's National Weather Service:
NWS Forecast Office in Raleigh :
NWS StormReady program:

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  Page last modified: 11-Mar-2010 9:35 AM