NOAA 2004-R260
Contact: Pat Slattery

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has presented the Mark Trail NOAA Weather Radio, All Hazards Award to the Meade County, S.D., Local Emergency Planning Committee. Meade County officials will receive the awards at a June 3 ceremony in Washington, D.C. Now in its eighth year, the Mark Trail Award program honors individuals and organizations that use or provide NWR receivers and transmitters to save lives and protect property. Twenty award recipients will be recognized nationally this year. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Meade County Local Emergency Planning Committee was honored for creating public service announcements promoting the use of NWR. NWR is designated as the warning system for the 3,470 square mile county.

“The Meade County Local Emergency Planning Committee has made a valuable contribution to their community,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA Weather Radio can provide the public with those extra minutes of warning in situations where minutes can save lives.”

According to Susan K. Sanders, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office in Rapid City, the committee’s actions have helped ensure the safety of Meade County residents.

“With recent expansion of the NWR network in South Dakota; every household, business and public facility in the county now has access to life-saving weather broadcasts,” Sanders said. “The Meade County Local Emergency Planning Committee wanted to let residents know NWR is the best way to get severe weather warnings and other emergency information about events like wildfire. This access is especially important to those who live in rural areas where there are no warning sirens.”

“The combination of improved severe weather detection and forecasting capabilities, and expansion of our NWR network is a proven formula for saving lives,” added National Weather Service Central Region Director Dennis McCarthy.

The Mark Trail award is named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character which serves as the campaign symbol for the NOAA Weather Radio program. Since 1995, Jack Elrod, writer and illustrator of Mark Trail, and King Features Syndicate have been strong advocates for publicizing severe weather safety through the use of weather radios.

“Jack Elrod and his alter ego, Mark Trail, have been great partners to NOAA National Weather Service in helping educate the public to the importance of having a NOAA Weather Radio in your home when danger threatens,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the National Weather Service.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The 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. To learn more about NWS, please visit:

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Information about NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio and the Mark Trail Award is available at: