NOAA 03-R291
Contact: Marilu Trainor
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service office in Phoenix, Ariz., have designated the city of Mesa as a StormReady community. During a presentation in the Mesa City Council chambers today representatives from the National Weather Service commended the community’s efforts to enhance its hazardous weather operations. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

The StormReady program gives communities the skills and education needed to survive severe weather - before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen their local hazardous weather operations by ensuring that they have the tools needed to receive life saving National Weather Service warnings in the quickest time possible.

“The National Weather Service recognized Mesa for the wide variety of community disaster resistant projects that help prepare citizens for severe desert weather and flood threats,” said Phoenix NWS Weather Forecast Office Meteorologist in Charge, Anton Haffer. “Mesa is the second community within the Phoenix metropolitan area to receive this formal certification. Paradise Valley was the first, and received their certification earlier this spring. The Storm Ready certification for Mesa will be in effect for three years, until the summer of 2006.”

Haffer said Mesa receives about 8 inches of rainfall annually and has a history of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and brief, but intense, rainfall causing rapid flooding of washes.

“More than 440,000 people live in Mesa and they, along with those who visit this community, will benefit from the efforts of the city and the National Weather Service to warn those who might be in harm’s way during any severe weather event,” said Haffer.

According to David Runyan, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS office in Phoenix, StormReady is a great example of federal, state and local governments working together to prepare communities for severe weather and floods.

Runyan noted how the StormReady program saved dozens of lives recently in Van Wert, Ohio. “The community met StormReady certification requirements just 11 months before a November 10, 2002 tornado devastated parts of the town. A Van Wert movie theater manager ushered 50 moviegoers to safety after hearing a NWS tornado warning over a special StormReady program emergency radio. The tornado destroyed the building, tossing cars into the front seats where kids and parents were seated moments before,” said Runyan. “Without StormReady the story could have been much different,” Runyan added.

Thanks to the StormReady program in Mesa, storm warnings will be issued on NOAA Weather Radio to receivers throughout the community. NOAA Weather Radio receivers, placed in public access buildings and in the emergency communication centers, as well as local broadcasts of storm warnings using the radio and television Emergency Alert System, will provide storm information to save lives and protect property. NWS officials said Mesa is leading the way in south central Arizona, with a commitment to emergency communication and preparedness plans.

“The Storm Ready program is voluntary and provides communities with clear-cut weather warning and preparedness advice from a partnership with the National Weather Service and emergency managers,” said Cliff Puckett, Mesa City Emergency Manager. “The preparedness program is a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle local severe weather threats from severe thunderstorms.”

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. 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 Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 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.

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