NOAA05-R299-59
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marcie Katcher
12/6/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
NOAA Home Page
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NOAA’S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DECLARES BOTH
PORTSMOUTH, RI, AND SMITHFIELD, RI, STORMREADY

Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service today praised the cities of Portsmouth and Smithfield, R.I., for completing a set of rigorous warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady. This makes Rhode Island the 49th state to have StormReady communities.

“Both Smithfield and Portsmouth are very proactive communities with regard to preparedness. We are very pleased to recognize them as the first StormReady communities in the state of Rhode Island,” said Glenn Field, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office in Taunton, Mass. “Both towns have pledged their support in helping other communities in the state become StormReady.”

StormReady encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness. 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 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 990 StormReady communities in 49 states.

Robert Thompson, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Taunton, presented recognition letters and special StormReady signs this morning to town officials from both Portsmouth and Smithfield. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years at which time each city will go through a renewal process.

“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.”

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 forecasts and warnings and to alert the public;
  • Create a system that monitors local weather conditions;
  • 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.

Jim Lowrimore, Portsmouth Emergency Management Agency director, said “StormReady has provided a medium for all our public safety services to come together and formalize many of the practices we already had in place to better serve our community in times of hazardous weather.”

Todd Manni, Smithfield Emergency Management Agency director, said “StormReady is an extremely important program, especially in the wake of weather- related tragedies across the nation, and our storm plan is another tool in our cache of resources to better serve the residents and visitors of the town.”

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 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

StormReady sign and program information: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov

National Weather Service in Taunton: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box