NOAA 2004-R230
Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2004
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The next time severe weather threatens, Banner County, Neb., residents will be ready for the storm. Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) today declared Banner County to be one of the StormReady communities. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said John Griffith, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS forecast office in Cheyenne, Wyo. The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats.

The voluntary program provides communities with clear-cut advice from a partnership between the local weather service office and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in Tulsa, Okla. There are now more than 700 StormReady communities in 47 states.

Griffith and Cheyenne meteorologist-in-charge William T. Parker presented a StormReady recognition letter and special StormReady signs to Banner County emergency preparedness officials. The signs will be displayed prominently throughout the county.

“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” Griffith said. “More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and 10 hurricanes impact the United States annually. “Potentially deadly weather can impact every person in the country.”

To be certified as StormReady, a community must:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
  • Have more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the public
  • Create a system that monitors local weather conditions
  • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises

“Just like communities, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, the National Weather Service plans to educate every American about what to do when severe weather strikes because it is ultimately each individual’s responsibility to protect him or herself,” said Griffith.

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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