NOAA05-R299-39
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marcie Katcher
11/28/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


NOAA’S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DECLARES BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C., STORMREADY

Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service today praised the emergency management team of Berkeley County, S.C., for completing a set of rigorous criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being declared StormReady.

“Berkeley County is among the latest of several South Carolina counties to earn the StormReady designation,” said Jerry Harrison, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office in Charleston, S.C., which serves the Berkeley area. “Through StormReady, the county will be better prepared to help protect the lives and property of its citizens during severe weather events.”

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, Okla., area. There are now more than 980 StormReady communities in 48 states.

Officials from the National Weather Service will present a StormReady plaque and special StormReady signs to the county council and emergency preparedness officials at the council chambers tonight at 6:00 p.m. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, at which time the county will go through a renewal process.

“I am extremely proud that our county is now StormReady. By being better prepared for dangerous weather our citizens are safer,” said Jason Patno, emergency manager for Berkeley County. “This is a program that all counties in South Carolina should have and it would benefit the entire state.”

“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of the NOAA 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 multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public;
  • Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally;
  • 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.

“Just like communities, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, the National Weather Service wants to educate every American about what to do when severe weather strikes because it is ultimately each individual’s responsibility to protect himself or herself,” said Michael Emlaw, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service forecast office in Charleston.

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

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

National Weather Service Weather forecast office in Charleston, S.C.: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/chs