NOAA 03-R299-18
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 Salt Lake City, Utah, have recognized Tooele County as Utah’s first StormReady location. Tooele County joins the growing number of communities recognizing the value of the StormReady program in preparing for and protecting their citizens. Thus far, 620 communities in 46 states have become part of this NOAA program. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

A presentation took place in the Tooele County Courthouse today when representatives from the National Weather Service commended the county’s efforts to enhance its hazardous weather operations.

The StormReady program gives communities the skills and education to deal with 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 NOAA National Weather Service warnings in the quickest time possible.

“The National Weather Service recognized Tooele County for the wide variety of disaster resistant projects that help prepare their citizens and emergency responders for severe weather and flood threats as well as significant winter weather,” said Salt Lake City NOAA National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Meteorologist in Charge, Larry Dunn. “Tooele County is the first jurisdiction in the state of Utah to receive this formal certification. The StormReady certification for Tooele County will be in effect for three years, until the summer of 2006.”

Dunn said Tooele County gets its share of severe weather and potential flash flooding storms in the summer months, but also gets winter storms that cause problems for the residents of the county, especially when “lake effect” snow moves south into the Tooele Valley impacting travel in and out of the area.

“More than 40,000 people live in Tooele County and they, along with those who visit and travel through the county, will benefit from the efforts of the county and the NOAA National Weather Service to warn those who might be in harm’s way during any severe or winter weather event,” said David Toronto, warning coordination meteorologist at the NOAA National Weather Service office in Salt Lake. “StormReady is a great example of federal, state, and local governments working together to prepare counties and communities for all kinds of severe weather.”

Dunn added how the StormReady program helped saved dozens of lives last year 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 NOAA National 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 seated moments before. Without StormReady the story could have been much different.”

Thanks to cooperative efforts between Tooele County and the NOAA National Weather Service, NOAA Weather Radio covers almost the entire county, and storm warnings are broadcast to receivers throughout the area. NOAA Weather Radio receivers have been placed in public access buildings, emergency communication centers, as well as many individual residences throughout the county. Local broadcasts of storm warnings are aired over NOAA Weather Radio as well as commercial radio and television using the Emergency Alert System, to provide storm information that can save lives and protect property. NOAA National Weather Service officials said Tooele County is leading the way in Utah, with a commitment to emergency communication, preparedness, and severe weather education.

“The StormReady program provides counties and communities with clear-cut weather warning and preparedness advice through a partnership between the NOAA National Weather Service and emergency managers,” said Kari Sagers, Tooele County emergency management director. “The StormReady program is a great approach to help communities develop systems and plans to handle local severe weather in any season, and strengthen cooperative ties with the NOAA National Weather Service. We are excited to be recognized for our readiness capabilities and proud to be associated with the NOAA National Weather Service as StormReady partners.”

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

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