Contact: Pat Slattery

NOAA News Releases 2004
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Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service today recognized Deuel County as a leader in Nebraska by naming it among the agency’s StormReady communities. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 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 Brian Hirsch, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Weather Forecast Office in North Platte, Neb. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property.”

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 820 StormReady communities in 47 states.

Hirsch presented a letter of recognition and special StormReady signs to Deuel County officials. The StormReady designation will remain in effect for three years, at which time the county 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, 1,000 tornadoes annually, and hurricanes are a threat to the Gulf and East Coasts. Potentially deadly weather can impact every person in the country. That’s why the NOAA's National Weather Service developed the StormReady program.”

To be recognized as StormReady, a community must:

  • establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
  • have more than one way to receive 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.

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

“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. Only you can save your own life. The best warnings in the world won't save you if you don't take appropriate action when severe weather threatens,” Hirsch added.

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