Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2005
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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its prestigious Gold Medal to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and eight National Weather Service offices in recognition of their outstanding, life-saving performance during a record number of hurricanes impacting Florida and Georgia between August 12 and September 27, 2004.

“These Gold Medals are indicative of the incredible dedication displayed by the men and women of the NOAA offices serving the hurricane-prone states of Florida and Georgia,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “I’m very proud that the Secretary of Commerce has chosen NOAA personnel to receive this award.”

As hurricanes Charley, Frances, Gaston, Ivan and Jeanne ravaged Florida and Georgia, office managers, forecasters and support staff worked long, stressful hours while they and their families were also in harm’s way. The high level of service provided by the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service received high praise from the emergency management community, media and the public.

In addition to the National Hurricane Center, offices recognized with a Gold Medal include all National Weather Service forecast offices in Florida (Key West, Miami, Tampa, Melbourne, Jacksonville and Tallahassee), the Atlanta forecast office and Southeast River Forecast Center, both in Peachtree City, Ga.

These NOAA offices worked collectively and tirelessly to provide a constant stream of critical information to the public, media and state and local officials as the hurricanes approached and moved inland. Hundreds of special briefings were provided to emergency management officials and first responders to assist in making evacuation decisions and taking the steps needed to protect property. Hurricane track forecasts set new records for accuracy and the warnings issued by the nominees during this event exceeded National Weather Service performance goals.

While these devastating storms caused more than $32 billion in damages and claimed more than 50 lives in the United States, countless lives were saved, and the number of injuries and property losses were minimized by the action of these NOAA offices during this unprecedented event.

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 (GEOSS), NOAA is working with our 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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