NOAA 2004-R274
Contact: Jim Scarlett or Marilu Trainor

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The next time severe weather threatens, Fallon County, Mont., including the communities of Baker and Plevna, will be ready for the storm. Officials from the NOAA National Weather Service recognized Fallon County as a leader in safety and readiness by declaring it among 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 Jim Scarlett, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Billings. " We have worked closely with the community to ensure there are multiple ways to warn those who might be in harms way during any severe weather event. NOAA’s program is a great example of federal, state and local governments working together to prepare counties and communities for severe weather and floods.”

At the Fallon County Courthouse in Baker today, Scarlett presented a StormReady recognition letter and special StormReady signs to be displayed in the area to county emergency preparedness officials.

The program is a great approach to help communities develop systems and plans to handle local severe weather in any season," said Fallon County Disaster Services Coordinator Sam Thielen. "We are excited to be recognized for our readiness capabilities and proud to be associated with the National Weather Service as StormReady partners."

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.

"Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods," said retired Air Force 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 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.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. 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 the nation's coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


National Weather Service:

Local Office - National Weather Service Billings:

NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio:

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