NOAA05-R299-35
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Teet
12/13/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
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NOAA Public Affairs


NOAA DECLARES PACIFIC COUNTY, WASH., AS TSUNAMIREADY AND STORMREADY

Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service today praised Pacific County, Wash., for completing of a set of rigorous warning and evacuation criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being TsunamiReady and StormReady.

“While an expanding tsunami observation and communication network allows NOAA forecasters to monitor conditions and issue warnings, the public must know how to react to such warnings in order to complete an effective tsunami warning process,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA's National Weather Service. “The TsunamiReady program helps educate the public on the immediate actions necessary to stay safe.”

“TsunamiReady arms communities with improved communication, education and safety skills needed to save lives and property,” said Tyree Wilde, warning coordination meteorologist of the National Weather Service forecast office in Portland, Ore. “With TsunamiReady, communities are encouraged to improve public awareness and local response to hazardous situations, associated with tsunamis before and during such an event.”

In addition to becoming TsunamiReady, Pacific County is also recognized as becoming StormReady. At a ceremony in South Bend today, Steve Todd, meteorologist- in-charge of the Portland forecast office, presented special TsunamiReady and StormReady signs to county officials. The StormReady and TsunamiReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the county will go through a renewal process.

Both community preparedness programs use a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle tsunamis, local severe weather, wave impacts, and flooding threats, and help communities inform citizens of threats associated with each. These programs are voluntary and provide communities with clear-cut advice through a partnership between the local National Weather Service offices and state, county, and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 and has grown to more than 970 StormReady communities in 48 states and now includes more than 25 TsunamiReady communities in six states.

To be recognized as TsunamiReady and StormReady, a community must:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
  • Have more than one way to receive tsunami and severe weather warnings and forecasts to alert the public;
  • Create a system that monitors local weather conditions;
  • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

“Awareness, preparation and advance warning are vital factors in tsunami readiness,” said Stephanie Fritts, emergency manager for Pacific County, Wash. “Citizens living in shoreline communities on the southwest Washington coast, such as those in Pacific County, which is in an area at risk from earthquakes and tsunamis, must understand the importance of moving to high ground or inland immediately in the event a tsunami occurs.”

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.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, 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.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov

TsunamiReady program: http://tsunamiready.noaa.gov

StormReady program: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov