NOAA 2005-R249
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NOAA News Releases 2005
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NOAA will present a Mark Trail Award to the General Motors Oklahoma City Assembly Plant for support of the agency’s NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards program. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Now in its ninth year, the awards program honors individuals and organizations that use or provide NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards receivers or transmitters to save lives and protect property. Seventeen award recipients were recognized nationally this year.

Plant management is being recognized for its quick, life-saving response to a tornado alert issued over NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards. On May 8, 2003, a violent tornado struck the plant causing $168 million in damage. A Tornado Watch was broadcast and picked up by the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards receiver in the plant’s security office at 4:33 p.m. A well-rehearsed safety and preparedness plan was quickly put in motion. By the time the tornado struck the plant at 5:30 p.m., all 1,200 employees had moved to tornado shelters. There were no deaths and no injuries.

“With this award, we recognize General Motors for their dedication to protecting its employees from severe weather,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Whenever danger threatens, whatever the hour, NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards can provide those extra minutes of warning in situations where minutes can save lives.“

Shawn Miller, plant safety manager of the General Motors Oklahoma Plant, and Jim Bowien, safety representative for the United Auto Workers, will accept the award during a ceremony on May 26 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

The Mark Trail Awards are named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character that serves as the campaign symbol for the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards program. Since 1995, Jack Elrod, writer and illustrator of Mark Trail, and King Features Syndicate have been strong advocates for publicizing severe weather safety through the use of the radios. In recent years, the strip's education message has included the fact that anyone listening to NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards has instant access to the same lifesaving weather reports and all-hazards information provided to meteorologists, emergency personnel and the media.

“Jack Elrod and his alter ego, Mark Trail, have been great partners to NOAA’s National Weather Service in helping educate the public to the importance of having this device nearby. When weather dangers loom day or night and minutes count, a NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards is the one tool that gives you and me the instantaneous information we need to protect ourselves,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards broadcasts official National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other civil emergency information 24 hours a day. NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards includes more than 800 transmitters, covering all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The 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, 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 the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

Editor’s Note: Information on NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards and graphics of Mark Trail and are available at:

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