NOAA 2004-R232
Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2004
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Officials from the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) today made Murray-Calloway County a leader in Kentucky by declaring the county one of the federal agency’s StormReady communities. Murray-Calloway County brings to more than 720 the number of locations in the United States to earn the StormReady designation.

“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Beverly Poole, meteorologist in charge of the Paducah National Weather Service forecast office. “The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats.”

The program is voluntary and 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 the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 700 StormReady communities in 47 states.

Rick Shanklin, warning coordination meteorologist at the Paducah Weather Service office, presented a StormReady recognition letter and special StormReady signs to the Murray-Calloway County Emergency Preparedness Director Jeff Steen. The signs will be displayed prominently throughout the county and city.

“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” Shanklin said. “More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and 10 hurricanes impact the United States annually.”

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 also need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, the NWS plans to educate every American about what to do when severe weather strikes. It is ultimately each individual’s responsibility to protect him or herself,” Shanklin said.

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 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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