NOAA 2004-R252
Contact: Marcie Katcher

NOAA News Releases 2004
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Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service today made Centre County a safety leader in Pennsylvania by declaring it to be among the federal agency's StormReady communities. The county joins more than 720 locations in 47 states to earn the StormReady recognition. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“As a StormReady county, Centre County has gained the skills necessary to survive severe weather, both before and during the event,” said Bruce Budd, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Weather Forecast Office in State College. “Pennsylvania and Centre County have a long history of significant 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 to see that number reduced.”

The program is voluntary and provides communities with clear-cut advice from a partnership between the local weather service office and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area.

“The StormReady program provides communities with clear-cut weather warning and preparedness advice from a partnership with the National Weather Service and state and local emergency managers,” said Centre County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Randy Rockey. “This preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle severe weather threats from tornadoes to floods and thunderstorms to blizzards.”

Budd will present a StormReady recognition letter and special StormReady signs to Centre County commissioners at the Willowbrook building at 10 a.m. May 18 in Bellefonte, Penn. The signs will be displayed prominently throughout the county.

“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” Budd said. “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 NWS 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 forecasts and warnings to alert the public
  • Create a system that monitors local weather conditions
  • 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.”

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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