NOAA 2005-R267
Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2005
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Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognized Rachael Freeman Elementary School in Wilmington, N.C., as the nation's first “StormReady Supporter” school. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The StormReady Supporter program encourages schools and businesses to establish severe weather safety plans and actively participate and promote severe weather safety awareness activities,” said Michael Caropolo, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, N.C. “StormReady Supporters are part of the StormReady program that arms communities, schools and businesses with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property.”

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 National Weather Service offices and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. There are now more than 900 StormReady communities in 47 states.

At a recognition ceremony at Rachael Freeman Elementary School last week, Caropolo presented a certificate and a special “StormReady Supporter” sign to the school’s principal, Elizabeth Miars.

“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.”

StormReady Supporters may not have the resources necessary to fulfill all of eligibility requirements for successful achievement of full StormReady ‘recognition.’

Those requirements are:

  • Establishing 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
  • Having more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the public;
  • Creating a system that monitors local weather conditions;
  • Promoting on the importance of public readiness through community seminars;
  • Developing a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

“The United States is the most severe weather prone region of the world. The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady will help us create better prepared communities throughout the country,” said Caropolo.

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.

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 our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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An image of the StormReady sign and more program information is available at: