Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its prestigious Silver Medal to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office at Austin/San Antonio. The Weather Forecast Office (WFO) staff is being honored for its outstanding performance during an unprecedented flood event in the south central Texas Hill Country (June 30 -July 6, 2002). NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

During that period, 50 inches of rain fell in the Texas Hill Country, with more than 30 inches concentrated in a four county area. These torrential rains created record breaking flooding over a large portion of WFO Austin/San Antonio’s County Warning Area (CWA). The staff’s dedication, skill and sacrifice during the event; and, its active weather preparedness work with emergency managers, government officials and the media prior to the event — are credited with saving numerous lives and reducing the loss of property.

A total of 31 counties suffered extensive flooding and 20 of those were declared federal disaster areas. Millions of people were impacted and property losses also ran into millions or dollars. Since the event occurred during the Fourth of July holiday period, thousands of visitors were also in camp grounds and recreational facilities scattered throughout this popular vacation area. Despite the potential for harm, the loss of life was minimized due to public response to the warnings and services provided by WFO Austin/San Antonio, the emergency management community and the media.

The WFO issued 387 Flash Flood Warnings (average lead time: 42 minutes) during the event and participated in Texas Division of Emergency Management briefings as frequently as four or five times a day. The staff’s efforts were also highly praised by area emergency managers and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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