NOAA 2004-R261
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pat Slattery
6/3/04

NOAA News Releases 2004
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NOAA HONORS MINNESOTA HOMELAND SECURITY, EMA, DOT

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has presented the Mark Trail NOAA Weather Radio, All Hazards Award to the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. State officials will receive the award at a June 3 ceremony in Washington, D.C. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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.

“The Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Minnesota Department of Transportation 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.”

NOAA honored Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Minnesota Department of Transportation for efforts in providing state residents with NWR coverage. Since 2000, the state agencies have expanded the Minnesota NWR network from 12 transmitters to 32, with projects underway to install four more transmitters.

According to Todd Krause, warning coordination meteorologist at the Minneapolis National Weather Service forecast office, the state agencies have ensured that almost all Minnesota residents live and work under the NWR umbrella.

“Expansion of the NWR network within Minnesota has been a monumental accomplishment,” Krause said. “Thanks to the efforts of some very dedicated state officials, 99 percent of Minnesota residents are within listening distance of a NWR transmitter.”

“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 http://www.nws.noaa.gov.

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. To learn more about NOAA, please visit http://www.noaa.gov.

Information about NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio and the Mark Trail Award is available at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.