NOAA'S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DECLARES
ORLANDO, FLA., STORMREADY
August 16, 2005 - Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service have praised the city of Orlando for completing a set of rigorous warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady.
“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Bart Hagemeyer, meteorologist-in-charge, NWS Weather Forecast Office in Melbourne, Fla. “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 local NWS offices and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 930 StormReady communities in 47 states.
Hagemeyer presented a recognition letter and special StormReady signs to city officials at the Orlando City Council meeting on August 15. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the city 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 the 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 the 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. 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,” said Dennis Decker, warning coordination meteorologist at the Melbourne forecast office.
“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 himself or herself,” added Decker.
NOAA's National Weather Service is the official 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.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, 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.
Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.
Ron Trumbla, NOAA’s National Weather Service Southern Region, (817) 978-1111, Ext. 140
Related Web sites:
NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov
StormReady program information is available at: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov