NOAA05-R299-24
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Teet
10/24/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
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NOAA’S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DECLARES
PETROLEUM COUNTY AND WINNETT, MONT., STORMREADY

Meteorologists from NOAA’s National Weather Service today praised city officials and the emergency management team of Petroleum County and the city of Winnett in Montana for completing a set of rigorous criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being declared StormReady.

“StormReady encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Julie Adolphson, meteorologist-in-charge of the Weather Forecast Office in Glasgow, Mont. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during a severe weather event.”

Lisa Solf of the department of emergency services said, “Our county is somewhat isolated from larger towns, so we need to do everything we can to be prepared and able to respond on our own without immediate assistance.”

“They were first city and county in the state to have an approved pre-disaster mitigation plan, which shows this community has been so proactive in preparing,” Adolphson.

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 now are more than 950 StormReady communities in 48 states.

Adolphson presented a recognition letter and special StormReady signs to county and city officials in Winnett today. 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 retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the National Weather Service. “More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes impact the United States annually. Potentially deadly weather can affect every person in the country. That’s why the 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.

“The United States is more prone to severe weather than anywhere on Earth,” said Tanja Fransen, warning coordination meteorologist at the Glasgow forecast office. “The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady seeks to create better prepared communities throughout the country.”

“Just like communities, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, the National Weather Service plans to educate every American about what to do when severe weather strikes, because it is each individual’s ultimate responsibility to protect himself or herself,” Fransen said.

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.

NOTE: Media interested in conducting interviews with the Glasgow Weather Forecast Office staff may contact Tanja Fransen, warning coordination meteorologist, at: (406) 228-2850.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov

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