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Contact: Marilu Trainor
Idaho Claims Lead With The Most "StormReady" Communities In The Nation
At a recognition ceremony, held during the Idaho Governor's Conference for Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, honored officials representing 10 Idaho counties and 39 cities for their efforts in earning the "StormReady" designation for their communities. The "StormReady" designation recognizes the team efforts and hard work of local emergency managers in preparing their citizens and communities to guard against severe weather threats.
"These communities have demonstrated a strong commitment to putting the infrastructure and systems in place that will save lives and protect property in the event of a severe weather event," said Greg Mandt, director of the office of Climate, Water and Weather Services at NOAA's weather service. "We honor them for their tremendous efforts and look forward to working with them in continuing to make their communities a safer place to live."
County officials from Ada, Boise, Bonner, Cassia, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Madison, Nez Perce, and Twin Falls received "StormReady" road signs from weather service officials. The road signs are posted to inform residents and travelers that this is a weather service certified "StormReady" community. Representatives for some of the 39 other communities were also on hand to receive the distinctive signs.
John Cline, state director, Idaho Bureau of Disaster Services said, "Over the past six years, Idaho has experienced four federal disasters, 15 state disasters and over 50 local disasters. When disasters occur, a "StormReady" community will be better prepared and will benefit its citizens when help is needed most."
Nationally, there are 171 communities or counties that have met the criteria and completed the review process to be officially recognized as "StormReady". Idaho is now leading the way with 49 "StormReady" designated communities. Previously, Illinois was in the lead with a total of twelve communities.
"StormReady" is a voluntary preparedness program providing communities with clear-cut advice on how to best use a grassroots approach and develop plans to handle local severe weather threats from tornadoes, mud slides or tsunamis. "StormReady" will also strengthen a community's ability to receive and use severe weather watches and warnings from the NWS.
To receive the "StormReady" designation these communities had to be approved by an advisory board made up of local county emergency managers, representatives from the Idaho Bureau of Disaster Services and the National Weather Service.
The "StormReady" program started as a pilot project in 1999 in Tulsa, Okla., and has now become a top weather service initiative. This year, 129 new "StormReady" communities have been added.
For more information about the "StormReady" program please visit http://www.stormready.noaa.gov.
Each weather service forecast office posts daily forecasts and severe weather warnings on their Web pages. Links to weather service offices across the country are available through http://weather.gov
Editor's Note: A copy of the "StormReady" sign is also available to use with this story at http://www.stormready.noaa.gov.
The following is a complete listing of the 10 Idaho Counties and 39 Idaho communities that received National Weather Service "StormReady" designation on June 14, 2001. A reproducible graphic is available at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/boise/storm_ready.htm