NOAA 2004-R217
Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2004
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As part of a nationwide program to help communities prepare against the ravages of severe weather, officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in State College, Pa., presented Bedford County with letters of recognition and signs designating the community as “StormReady” on Jan. 30, 2004. The presentation of the certificate to the Bedford County Commissioners will occur at Council chambers on Feb. 17, 2004 in Bedford. Bedford County joins 18 other Pennsylvania counties and 692 counties and communities nationwide, that have been declared “StormReady.” NOAA is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“StormReady” is a voluntary program that gives communities the skills and education needed to survive severe weather - before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen their local hazardous weather operations by ensuring that they have the tools needed to receive life-saving NWS warnings in the quickest time possible.

“As a StormReady county, Bedford County has gained the skills necessary to survive severe weather, both before and during the event,” said. “Pennsylvania and Bedford County have a long history of significant weather and it is the goal of StormReady to reduce the impact of severe weather in the state,” he continued. “The state experiences about a dozen weather-related fatalities per year and we would like to see that number reduced.”

Bruce Budd, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS office in State College said, “Pennsylvania suffers about twenty tornadoes a year with a 1985 outbreak that caused 65 deaths and a 1998 event that killed three. Major floods that occurred in the state were caused by Hurricanes Agnes, Eloise, Floyd and Dennis, and the January 1996 snowmelt.” He also added, “the StormReady program is a great example of federal, state and local governments working together to help prepare communities for severe weather and flood events.”

Specifically, StormReady helps communities understand the types of weather they can expect, when it is most likely to occur, and how they can prepare for it in advance. For example, the peak threat for tornadoes in Pennsylvania occurs during spring and summer, yet most flooding occurs during the spring and winter with hurricanes posing a summer and fall flood threat. Much of the NWS preparedness information, awareness materials, and other data can be accessed at an Internet Web site devoted to StormReady:

Bedford County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Dan Datesman stated, “The StormReady program provides communities with clear-cut weather warning and preparedness advice from a partnership with the National Weather Service and state and local emergency managers,” Datesman said. “This preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle severe weather threats from tornadoes to floods and thunderstorms to blizzards.”

“The key to preparedness is understanding the types of weather your area can expect and staying tuned to NWS forecast and warning information. Having NOAA weather radios in the home, office, schools, churches and other facilities to provide around-the-clock weather information is an excellent way to stay StormReady,” Budd said.

Budd added that, while Storm Ready is designed to prepare communities as a whole, the actions of a single individual can often mean the difference between life and death. Every individual must be aware of weather threats and constantly monitor them.

Bedford County is served by a modernized NWS weather forecast office in State College. The office is equipped with Doppler weather radar, advanced computer and communication equipment, automated observing systems, and data from weather satellites, giving forecasters the ability to provide communities with more accurate and timely weather information than ever before.

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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