NOAA 2004-R289
Contact: Keli Tarp

NOAA News Releases 2004
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Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service recognized Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, by naming it as one of the agency’s StormReady communities today. 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 Mike Foster, meteorologist in charge of the NWS weather forecast office in Norman, Okla. “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 750 StormReady communities in 47 states.

The formal presentation took place at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, in the Hardin Hall Board Room. Midwestern State University is the second university in Texas to achieve StormReady status, and one of eight universities nationwide to be formally recognized. Other universities declared StormReady include Abilene Christian University, Texas; Northern Illinois University; University of Maryland; University of Kentucky; University of Louisville, Ky.; State University of New York, Albany, New York; and University of California at Santa Barbara.

“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 affect every person in the country. That’s why the 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,” said Johnson. “The mission of the 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.”

“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 himself or herself,” said Foster.

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: