NOAA 2006-R209
Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2006
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Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service today praised Williamson County, Ill., for completing a set of rigorous warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being declared StormReady.

“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Beverly Poole of the National Weather Service forecast office in Paducah, Ky. “StormReady provides communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event.”

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 forecast offices and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 970 StormReady communities in 48 states.

Poole presented a letter of recognition and special StormReady signs to Williamson County officials today. The StormReady designation will be in effect for three years when 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 impact 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 more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the public;
  • Create a system that monitors local weather conditions;
  • 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.

“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,” added Poole.

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 to enhance the national economy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 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 Earth monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Web:


NOAA’s National Weather Service:

StormReady sign and program information:

National Weather Service forecast office in Paducah, Ky.: