NOAA'S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
DECLARES HESPERIA, CALIF., STORMREADY
August 17, 2005 - Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service praised the city of Hesperia, Calif., for completing a set of rigorous criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady.
“StormReady encourages communities to take a formal, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Ed Clark, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in San Diego. “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 voluntary program provides communities with clear-cut advice from a partnership between the local weather forecast office and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. Hesperia now joins more than 930 StormReady communities in 47 states.
At the Hesperia City Council meeting, Clark presented a recognition letter and special StormReady signs to city officials. The StormReady designation continues for three years, when each city must be recertified.
“What the program basically does is tie everything together,” said Phill Dupee, who is among the program coordinators for Hesperia. “We have a written procedure and everyone is on the same page. Response will be more efficient.”
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; and
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
“The cost to the city is minimal because everything is done with volunteers,” said Berta Sabicer, Hesperia's director of human resources. The majority of city funds will be used to purchase weather radios.
“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 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.”
“The United States is the most severe weather prone region of the world,” said Clark. “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.
“Like communities, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather,” Clark stressed. Through StormReady, the National Weather Service seeks to educate every American about what to do when severe weather strikes, because protection is ultimately an individual responsibility.
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, 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, 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.
Jim Teet, NOAA’s National Weather Service Western Region, (801) 524-5692
Related Web sites:
NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov
An image of the StormReady sign and more program information are available at: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov