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Contact: Jim Teet
News Releases 2005
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Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service today praised Powder River County in southeast Montana for completing a set of rigorous warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady.
“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said James Scarlett, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Billings, Mont. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event.”
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 National Weather Service 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 930 StormReady communities in 47 states.
At the Powder River County Commissioner’s meeting in Boadus, Keith Meier, meteorologist-in-charge of the Billings Weather Forecast Office, presented a recognition letter and special StormReady signs to county officials. The StormReady status will remain in effect for three years, when the county will undergo a recertification process.
“We’ve worked hard through the last few years getting the community and county StormReady,” said Dave Lancaster, Powder River County disaster and emergency coordinator. “We have installed a NOAA Weather Radio transmitter, a brand new warning siren in Broadus and worked with the National Weather Service on making the community StormReady.”
To be recognized as StormReady, a community must:
“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 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.”
“The United States is the most severe weather prone region 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,” Scarlett said.
“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,” added Scarlett.
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 an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, which 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. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems, NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.
NOTE: Media interested in conducting interviews with the Billings, Mont., Weather Forecast Office staff, should contact James Scarlett, warning coordination meteorologist, at (406) 652-0851, Ext. 223.
On the Web:
NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov
program information and signage: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov