Contact: Marcie Katcher
NOAA News Releases 2005
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Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service today praised Baltimore County’s emergency management team for completing a set of rigorous criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being declared StormReady.

“Baltimore County’s achievement of becoming StormReady enhances the relationship between the county and NOAA’s National Weather Service,” said James Lee, meteorologist-in-charge of the Baltimore/Washington National Weather Service Forecast Office in Sterling, Va. “Baltimore County is the largest StormReady community in Maryland to date, and 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 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 940 StormReady communities in 47 states.

“Safeguarding our communities from dangerous weather and other potential threats is a daily priority in Baltimore County, and we appreciate this recognition from our partners at the National Weather Service,” said Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. “Being storm ready means Baltimore County is using the right combination of technology, planning and good old-fashioned legwork. We cannot prevent hurricanes or tropical storms, but we are doing everything we can to ensure that we are prepared.”

At the shore of the Middle River, adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay, National Weather Service officials today presented a StormReady recognition letter and special StormReady signs to county officials. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, at which time the county will go through a renewal process.

“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 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 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; and
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

“We know first hand the dangers of severe weather,” said Richard Muth, director of the Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Becoming Storm Ready has allowed us to refine our procedures and allows us to expand our abilities to both receive and disseminate severe storm information. This will increase safety to both the public and our employees.”

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.

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

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