NOAA 2003-R235
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marilu Trainor
3/13/03
NOAA News Releases 2003
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PARADISE VALLEY EARNS “STORMREADY” TITLE

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Phoenix, Ariz., presented the city of Paradise Valley with letters of recognition and signs designating the community as “StormReady.” The presentation took place in Paradise Valley Council chambers today. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

StormReady is a voluntary program that 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 NWS warnings in the quickest time possible.

“The National Weather Service recognized Paradise Valley for their wide variety of community disaster resistant projects that help prepare citizens for severe desert weather and flood threats,” said David Runyan, warning coordination meteorologist at the Phoenix forecast office. “Paradise Valley is the first community within the Phoenix metropolitan area to receive this formal certification. Paradise Valley will retain the StormReady certification through 2006.”

Runyan said Paradise Valley receives about eight 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 13,000 people live in Paradise Valley and they, along with those who visit this area, will benefit from the efforts of the city and the National Weather Service to warn those who might be in harm’s way during severe weather events,” said Runyan.

Runyan added 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.

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 emergency radio. The tornado destroyed the building, tossing cars into the front seats where kids and parents were seated moments before,” said Runyan.

NWS officials said Paradise Valley will lead the way in south-central Arizona, showing other communities what can be done with a commitment to emergency communication and preparedness plans. Using trained volunteer SKYWARN severe weather observers, and monitoring of stream and wash stage gages to gather information, storm warnings will be issued on NOAA Weather Radio to receivers in the community. The receivers, placed in public access buildings and in the emergency communication center, 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.

“StormReady program provides communities with clear-cut weather warning and preparedness advice from a partnership with the National Weather Service and emergency managers,” said Paradise Valley’s District Chief and Fire Marshal Mike Winters. “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. NOAA 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.

On the Internet:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov

“StormReady” Program: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov

NOAA Weather Service Offices: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/wrhq/nwspage.html