NOAA 2003-R204
Contact: Curtis Carey
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NOAA Weather Service) is recognizing Spokane County communities this week for being “StormReady.” The StormReady program recognizes communities that meet rigorous certification requirements for their disaster preparedness and severe weather educational activities. NOAA is a part of the Department of Commerce.

Officials from the NOAA National Weather Service office in Spokane, Wash., are presenting Spokane County and the cities of Spokane, Deer Park, Cheney, Airway Heights, Liberty Lake, and Spokane Valley, as well as the towns of Fairfield, Latah, Millwood, Rockford, Spangle and Waverly with letters of recognition and signs designating the county and communities as “StormReady.”

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.

John Livingston, meteorologist in charge of the NOAA Weather Service office in Spokane, said, “The StormReady Program is a great example of federal, state and local governments working together to help prepare communities for severe weather and flood events.”

He 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. According to Livingston, a Van Wert movie theater manager ushered 50 moviegoers to safety after hearing a NOAA Weather Service 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 moments before.

Livingston is presenting the StormReady signs and letters of recognition during ceremonies held at the Council Chambers in Spokane on February 3 and at the Spokane County Commissioners meeting on February 4.

“StormReady helps communities attain a new level of preparedness and mitigation awareness that leads to protection of life and property from extreme weather-related events,” said Ken Holmes, warning and coordination meteorologist from the NOAA Weather Service office in Spokane. “The StormReady program is working well and we hope it will continue to grow across the country.”

These tools include: a 24 Hour Warning Point and Emergency Operations Center, a NOAA Weather Radio transmitter to serve the communities with receivers in public buildings and available to school superintendents, hospitals and emergency managers with a local Emergency Alert System Plan in place to get warning information to the public. Through the use of these tools, emergency managers ensure the quick reception and distribution of NOAA Weather Service warnings. This fast action will allow the people in the community to take measures to protect themselves from harm before severe weather strikes.

According to Holmes, “It is very important for everyone to understand that flooding, wild land fires and other weather-related events can be a threat to those who live, work or play in our area. Not only should you know what conditions bring on these weather events, but what to do when they occur. NOAA Weather Radios with alarms are the surest way to keep your family informed of hazardous weather.

“We encourage everyone to equip their homes, schools, businesses and public places with this lifesaving device. NOAA Weather Radios should be as common as smoke detectors,” he added.

The National Weather Service has certified 17 StormReady and TsunamiReady communities in Washington state and the Quinault Indian Nation in western Washington. Nationwide there are 506 StormReady and TsunamiReady communities in 43 states. Thousands more communities could be eligible to join the program.

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.

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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