Contact: Jim Teet
NOAA News Releases 2005
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Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service today praised officials from Dana Point, Calif., for completing a set of rigorous warning and evacuation criteria to earn the distinction as Southern California’s first TsunamiReady community and the third TsunamiReady community in California. The community also was honored for achieving StormReady status.

"While an expanding observation and communications 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 and StormReady programs help educate the public on the immediate actions necessary to stay safe.”

“Not only does the California coast face a threat from tsunamis generated elsewhere in the Pacific, but earthquakes off the immediate coast can also generate local tsunamis,” said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Ed Clark of the National Weather Service forecast office in San Diego. Clark added that Dana Point emergency managers have identified tsunami threatened areas, created evacuation plans and established a public education program.

“The TsunamiReady and StormReady programs recognize communities that take a proactive approach to improving public awareness and local response to hazardous situations,” said Jim Purpura, meteorologist-in-charge of the San Diego forecast office. He credited the work of local officials and emergency planners for providing the means to protect the public from tsunamis and severe weather threats.

Purpura presented special StormReady and TsunamiReady signs to Dana Point officials during a ceremony today, attended by area and state officials. The StormReady and TsunamiReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the city 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 990 StormReady communities in 48 states and there are more than 20 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.

“The city has always placed a high priority on our disaster preparedness program,” said Wayne Rayfield, mayor of Dana Point. “Being in the emergency planning zone for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has helped hone our disaster preparedness programs through regular drills and exercises. Being prepared for the tsunami hazard just comes naturally due to our location as a coastal community and our proactive approach to emergency planning. I am extremely proud of our Emergency Services Team and their efforts to set a high standard and precedence for southern California. This also reflects the Dana Point City Council’s desire to be the safest community on the California Coast.”

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.

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