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NOAA News Releases 2004
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Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognized the communities of Manzanita, Nehalem, and Wheeler, Ore., in northern Tillamook County as leaders by naming them among the agency’s StormReady and TsunamiReady communities today. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“StormReady and TsunamiReady encourage communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving public awareness and local response to hazardous situations,” said Steve Todd, meteorologist in charge of the NWS Forecast Office in Portland, Ore. “The communities of Manzanita, Nehalem, and Wheeler have demonstrated a strong commitment to putting the infrastructure and systems in place that will save lives and protect property in the event of these damaging and hazardous events.”

“StormReady and TsunamiReady recognition is a positive indication these communities take the dangers of severe weather seriously,” said Dr. James R. Mahoney, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA deputy administrator. "NOAA commends the efforts of community leaders to protect their citizenry from harm. We hope these efforts will continue to spread across the country.”

The TsunamiReady and StormReady programs are voluntary preparedness programs that establish guidelines for communities to follow for readiness. Communities adopt requirements in the areas of communications, warning reception and dissemination, public outreach, awareness and administrative planning. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 800 StormReady communities in 47 states. The StormReady and TsunamiReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the communities will go through a recertification process.

“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA's National Weather Service. “More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes impact the United States annually, and hurricanes are a threat to the Gulf and East Coasts. Potentially deadly weather can affect every person in the country. While tsunamis are rare, they can be deadly. That’s why the National Weather Service developed the StormReady and TsunamiReady programs.”

To be recognized as StormReady or TsunamiReady, a community must:

  • establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
  • have more than one way to receive tsunami and severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public;
  • create a system that monitors weather conditions locally;
  • 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.

“Preparation and advance warning are vital factors in tsunami readiness. Citizens in a seaside community, such as Manzanita, which is in an area prone to earthquakes, must understand the importance of moving to high ground or inland immediately in case a tsunami occurs,” said Tyree Wilde, warning coordination meteorologist in Portland.

“During the 1990s, Oregon experienced 10 federally declared disasters and dozens more local disasters,” says Perry Sherbaugh, fire and police chief for Manzanita. “When disasters occur, a StormReady or TsunamiReady community will be better prepared for its citizens.”

“Just like communities, families need to be storm ready or tsunami ready by having an action plan. Through the StormReady and TsunamiReady programs, the National Weather Service plans to educate every American about what to do during natural hazard events because it is ultimately each individual's responsibility to protect him or herself. The best warnings in the world won't save you if you don't take action when threatened by severe weather or tsunamis,” Wilde added.

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.

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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NOAA’s National Weather Service Forecast Office Portland, Ore.:

Editor’s Note: Logos for the StormReady and TsunamiReady programs are available online: