NOAA 2004-R299-17
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Greg Romano
10/4/04

NOAA News Releases 2004
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NOAA RECOGNIZES SHERIDAN COUNTY, MONT., STORMREADY

Officials from the NOAA's National Weather Service recognized Sheridan County, and the communities of Plentywood, Medicine Lake, Outlook and Westby, Mont., leaders by naming them among the agency's StormReady communities today. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“The National Weather Service recognized Sheridan County for the wide variety of disaster resistant projects that help prepare their citizens and emergency responders for severe weather and flood threats as well as significant winter storms and fire hazards,” said Vickie Nadolski, NWS Western Region director.

The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help organizations such as counties, cities, military installations, universities, or other community groups 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 770 StormReady communities in 47 states.

During a presentation at the county courthouse today, Nadolski presented each location with special recognition plaques and StormReady signs. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the communities will go through a recertification process.

“The StormReady program, adopted through our local emergency planning committee, helped us to improve the warning services that the county provides,” said Curtis Petrick, Sheridan County disaster and emergency services coordinator. “The county officials as well as our residents have always strongly supported the weather safety courses that the National Weather Service provides. We think it is great that we are being recognized for the readiness capabilities we have worked on and plan on continuing our excellent partnership with the NWS.”

“Montana is currently home to 15 StormReady designations,” said Julie Adolphson, meteorologist in charge of the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Glasgow. “This NOAA program is a great example of federal, state, and local governments working together to prepare counties and communities for severe weather and floods. We have worked closely with the counties and cities to ensure there are multiple ways to warn those who might be in harm’s way during any severe or winter weather event.”

State of Montana District 6 Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Mark Gruener stated, “Sheridan County has always had a proactive approach to dealing with potential weather related hazards, as shown in the fact that they had one of the first approved FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plans in the entire United States. Curtis has done an excellent job with setting up the spotter training courses, being an active weather spotter himself, and developing and maintaining a great relationship with the staff at the NWS in Glasgow.”

“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.

“The United States is the most severe weather prone region of the world,” said Johnson. “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 counties throughout the country.”

“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 him or herself. Only you can save your own life. The best warnings in the world won't save you if you don't take action when severe weather threatens,” Adolphson added.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. 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: http://www.noaa.gov

National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov

Local Office: National Weather Service Glasgow: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/glasgow

NOAA Weather Radio, All Hazards: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr

An image of the StormReady sign and more program information is available at http://www.stormready.noaa.gov