News Releases 2004
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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its prestigious Bronze Medal to the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Cleveland, Ohio, for outstanding customer service through outreach and education and providing accurate and timely ice forecasts for the Great Lakes shipping industry. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The winter of 2003 resulted in one of the worst ice seasons on record across the Great Lakes. Ice has a major impact on the movement of ships on the Great Lakes and on the economy of the region. Ships can become trapped in ice for hours before being released by U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers. The cost of a ship wedged in the ice can be tens of thousands of dollars.
“Shippers delayed the start of the transportation season by nearly three weeks in the winter of 2003 because of Cleveland’s weather briefings. This action saved the shipping companies nearly $250,000 in operating expenses, avoided damage to the fleet, reduced the threat to sailors during ice freeing activities and reduced the need for assistance from the Coast Guard,” said Mickey Brown, deputy director, NWS Eastern Region.
For the first time, the Cleveland office disseminated ice information in graphical form providing a fast, intuitive tool that allowed shippers to put the magnitude of the ice situation in historical perspective and make decisions based on past experience. Customers were provided with color graphics depicting ice coverage and thickness, trends of ice growth and decay, extended forecast guidance as well as forecast dates of ice break up.
“The Cleveland weather forecast office is the primary contact with the Great Lakes Carriers Association and is continuing to improve National Weather Service dissemination of critical warnings and forecasts to ships on the Great Lakes. Data that once took hours to transmit now takes minutes,” said Dean Gulezian, director, NWS Eastern Region. We are proud of the trust and understanding the office has cultivated with the Great Lakes Carrier Association and the distinguished honor they received from the Department of Commerce.”
The award was presented at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Secretary of Commerce presents the Bronze Medal to Commerce Department offices and employees who have made outstanding or significant contributions in support of the overall departmental goals that serve the nation.
NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. 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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