NOAA 2004-R280
Contact: Greg Romano

NOAA News Releases 2004
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Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service today recognized Contra Costa County, Calif., as a leader among the agency's "StormReady" communities. Contra Costa County is only the second county in California to be awarded the designation. 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 David Soroka, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS weather forecast office in Monterey. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event.”

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 NWS weather forecast office and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 735 StormReady communities in 47 states.

At the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office – Emergency Services Division today, NWS officials presented a StormReady recognition letter and special StormReady signs to County emergency preparedness officials. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, when the county will go through a recertification process.

“There are other California communities that have earned the StormReady designation, but Contra Costa is only the second county in the state to achieve the recognition,” said David Reynolds, meteorologist–in–charge at the NWS office in Monterey. “The leaders of Contra Costa County Emergency Services Division and Community Warning System have shown great dedication in working to achieve StormReady status. Their hard work and sincere cooperation with the NWS will directly benefit the citizens of all the communities within Contra Costa County.”

“The StormReady program provides us with an improved weather warning and preparedness service for the county,” said Elizabeth Klute, community warning system manager of the Emergency Services Division of the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff. “We are excited to be recognized as StormReady and proud to be associated with the National Weather Service as StormReady partners.”

“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” said retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. “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 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 multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and 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,” Soroka said. “The mission of NOAA's 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.”

Soroka stated that just like communities, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, NOAA's 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. “The best warnings in the world won’t save you if you don’t take action when severe weather threatens,” Soroka added.

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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An image of the StormReady sign and more program information is available online: