NOAA 2004-R234
Contact: Greg Romano

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 Cheyenne and Kit Carson counties leaders in Colorado by declaring them to be among the federal agency’s StormReady communities. The two counties join more than 720 locations in 47 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 David Floyd, warning coordination meteorologist at the Goodland, Kan., NOAA National Weather Service forecast office that serves the two Colorado counties. 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.

Scott Mentzer, meteorologist in charge at the Goodland office presented a StormReady recognition letter and special StormReady signs to Cheyenne County and Kit Carson County emergency preparedness officials. The signs will be displayed prominently throughout the counties.

“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” Floyd 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. That’s why the NWS developed the StormReady program.”

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

“The United States is the most severe weather prone region of the world,” Mentzer said. “The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady will help us create better prepared communities throughout the country.”

“Just like communities, families also 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 himself or herself,” said Floyd.

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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