NOAA 2004-R256
Contact: Greg Romano

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The next time severe weather threatens, Somerset County, Pa., will be ready for the storm. Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service today made Somerset County a leader by recognizing it to be 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 Bruce Budd, meteorologist in charge at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in State College, Pa. "Pennsylvania and Somerset County have a long history of severe weather and it is the goal of StormReady to reduce the impact of severe weather in the state. The state experiences about a dozen weather-related fatalities per year and we are working hard to reduce that number."

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 720 StormReady communities in 47 states.

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,” Budd said. “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 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 action when severe weather threatens,” Budd added.

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