NOAA 2004-R231
Contact: Greg Romano
NOAA News Releases 2004
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The next time severe weather threatens, McKean County, Pa. will be ready for the storm. Officials from the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) today made McKean County a leader in Pennsylvania by declaring the county one of the federal agency’s StormReady communities. A presentation will take place on Smethport on April 20 during the McKean County Commission meeting. The county joins 19 other Pennsylvania counties and brings to more than 720 the number of locations in the United States to earn the StormReady designation.

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 National Weather Service warnings in the quickest time possible.

“As a StormReady county, McKean County has gained the skills necessary to survive severe weather, both before and during the event,” said Bruce Budd, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service office in State College. “Pennsylvania and McKean County have a long history of significant weather and it is the goal of StormReady to reduce the impact of severe weather in the state. Pennsylvania experiences about a dozen weather related fatalities per year and we would like to see that number reduced.”

“Pennsylvania suffers about twenty tornadoes a year. A 1985 tornado outbreak caused 65 deaths and a 1998 event killed three. Major floods that occurred in the state were caused by Hurricanes Agnes, Eloise, Floyd and Dennis as well as the January 1996 snowmelt,” Budd added.

StormReady helps communities understand the types of weather they can expect, when it is most likely to occur and how they can prepare for it in advance. For example, the peak threat for tornadoes in Pennsylvania occurs during spring and summer, while most flooding occurs during the spring and winter, with hurricanes posing a summer and fall flood threat. Much of the National Weather Service preparedness information, awareness materials, and other data can be accessed on the Web site devoted to StormReady:

McKean County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Steve Nelson stated that: “The StormReady program provides communities with clear-cut weather warning and preparedness advice from a partnership with the National Weather Service and state and local emergency managers. This preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle severe weather threats from tornadoes to floods and thunderstorms to blizzards.”

“The key to preparedness is understanding the types of weather your area can expect and staying tuned to National Weather Service forecast and warning information. Having NOAA weather radios in the home, office, schools, churches and other facilities to provide around-the-clock weather information is an excellent way to stay StormReady,” Budd said.

Budd added that, “while Storm Ready is designed to prepare communities as a whole, the actions of a single individual can often mean the difference between life and death. Every individual must be aware of weather threats and constantly monitor them.”

McKean County is served by a modernized National Weather Service weather forecast office in State College. The office is equipped with Doppler weather radar, advanced computer and communication equipment, automated observing systems and data from weather satellites, giving forecasters the ability to provide communities with more accurate and timely weather information than ever before.

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

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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