NOAA 2002-R212
Contact: Jim Milbury
NOAA News Releases 2002
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Quinault Indian Tribe Receives Honors at Ceremony

The National Weather Service (NWS), an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), today honored the Quinault Indian Tribe as the first Native American community in the country to receive the "TsunamiReady" designation. The community was also recognized for achieving the "StormReady" designation.

"Today we are making history by honoring the Quinault Indian Tribe for establishing a system that better protects citizens from tsunamis and other severe weather threats," said NOAA National Weather Service Western Region Director Vickie Nadolski. "As the first Native American sovereign nation to achieve this recognition, they are also setting an example for others to put the infrastructure and systems in place that will save lives and protect property."

The TsunamiReady and StormReady programs are voluntary National Weather Service preparedness programs that establish guidelines for communities to follow for tsunami and severe weather readiness. TsunamiReady and StormReady communities have adopted the requirements set by the NWS in the areas of communications, warning reception and dissemination, public outreach, hazard awareness and administrative planning.

To receive the "TsunamiReady" and "StormReady" designation, the Quinaults, working with Gray's Harbor County Emergency Management, successfully met the readiness criteria and were approved by an advisory board made up of local county emergency managers, representatives from the Washington State Emergency Management Division and the National Weather Service.

Many local and state representatives were on hand to participate in the ceremony. Official signs recognizing the sovereign nation as "StormReady and TsunamiReady" will be posted on roadsides entering the tribal area. Quinault is about 100 miles west of Seattle, on the central Washington coast.

Chris Hill, meteorologist in charge at the NWS Forecast Office in Seattle, said, "Today, our program emphasizes the key to personal and community safety during severe weather is awareness and knowing what appropriate actions to take. Being fully prepared and understanding in advance what the severe weather warnings mean are vital factors in tsunami and storm readiness."

"Educating citizens and making those aware who live in or travel to seaside communities, especially areas in the Pacific Northwest, where earthquake dangers exist, is an ongoing goal of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Group," said Ted Buehner, warning coordination meteorologist at the forecast office. "The National Weather Service is working with communities throughout this region to help them prepare and better protect their citizens in the event an off-shore earthquake produces a damaging tsunami."

"It is laudable that the Quinaults are the nation's first Native American nation to achieve this high honor. Members of our tribe spend a great deal of time along the coastline. We must ensure everyone understands the importance of moving to high ground or inland immediately in case a tsunami occurs," said Pearl Capoeman-Ballar, tribal chairperson. "We are pleased the Quinaults can set a standard for other tribes to emulate. We can all be better prepared to protect ourselves and the members of our communities from severe weather events."

During the 1990s, Washington State experienced 19 federally-declared disasters and dozens more local disasters. When disasters occur, a "StormReady" or "TsunamiReady" community will be better prepared for its citizens.

For more information on the TsunamiReady program, please visit for more information about the "StormReady" program please visit Each NWS forecast office posts daily forecasts and severe weather warnings on their Web pages. Links to NWS offices across the country are available through

NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NWS 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. To learn more about NWS, please visit

Editor's Note: A copy of the "StormReady" and "TsunamiReady" signs is also available to use with this story at