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Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognized the city of Wickenburg Ariz., as a leader by naming it among the agency’s “StormReady” communities today. 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 David Runyan, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS weather forecast office in Phoenix. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event.”
“StormReady recognition is a positive indication this community takes the dangers of severe weather seriously,” said Dr. James R. Mahoney, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA deputy administrator. “NOAA commends the efforts of community leaders to protect their citizenry from harm. We hope these efforts will continue to spread across the country.”
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 800 StormReady communities in 47 states.
At Wickenburg’s Town Hall city council chambers this evening, Phoenix Meteorologist-in-Charge Anton Haffer will present a recognition letter and special StormReady signs to county officials. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the county will go through a recertification process.
“More than 6,500 people live in Wickenburg and they, along with those who visit this community, will benefit from the efforts of the city and the National Weather Service to warn those who might be in harm’s way during severe weather events,” said Scott Bowman, emergency operations director for Wickenburg.
“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA's National Weather Service. “More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes impact the United States annually, and hurricanes are a threat to the Gulf and East Coasts. Potentially deadly weather can affect every person in the country. That’s why NOAA's National Weather Service developed the StormReady program.”
To be recognized as StormReady, a community must:
“The United States is one of the most severe weather prone regions of the world. 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,” Runyan said.
“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 himself or herself,” Runyan said.
NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA's 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.
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.
On the Web:
NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov
image of the StormReady sign and more program information is available