NOAA 2002-R223
Contact: Marilu Trainor
NOAA News Releases 2002
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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its Bronze Medal to the staff of the NOAA National Weather Service Billings, Mont., Forecast Office for outstanding work in providing life saving warnings and enhanced public service during the prolonged severe weather episode of the summer of 2001. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the Commerce Department.

Keith Meier, who serves as meteorologist in charge, represented the local office and was presented the award today by retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. The presentation ceremony was held at the University of Maryland in Adelphi, Md.

“The staff was commended for providing an enhanced level of service to the public during several severe weather episodes of the summer of 2001. The level of service provided by staff in the forecast office in Billings illustrates their commitment to integrity and teamwork. The staff demonstrated their willingness to put service above self and performed well above the normal call of duty. This performance provides a clear example of the National Weather Service’s mission to protect life and property.” said Vickie Nadolski, NOAA Weather Service Western Region director.

Nadolski noted the Bronze Medal is the highest honorary award given by NOAA. It is granted by the administrator for a significant contribution to NOAA or the department.

According to Meier, the tornadoes and severe thunderstorms that occurred were very accurately forecast with significant lead time provided to the public.

“This lead time gave people the opportunity to take action to protect their lives and property before the storms hit. There were no injuries or fatalities to people reported during this entire prolonged event,” said Meier.

During the five month summer severe weather season of 2001, the forecast office in Billings issued over 360 warnings, which is nearly twice the average number of warnings during a summer season. The majority of these warnings came during an unprecedented stretch of severe weather events that started at the end of June and continued daily through mid-August. During this six week stretch, severe weather occurred daily somewhere within the Billings Warning Area at all hours of the day and night.

“This honor truly reflects the professionalism and attention to public service by the staff here in Billings,” said Meier.

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

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