NOAA 2006-R262
Contact: Marcie Katcher
NOAA News Releases 2006
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Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service praised the emergency management team of Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna County today for completing a set of rigorous criteria necessary to earn the StormReady distinction.

“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Dave Nicosia, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office in Binghamton, N.Y. “StormReady arms 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 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 1,060 StormReady communities across the country.

Barbara Watson, meteorologist-in-charge of the Binghamton forecast office, today presented a recognition letter and special StormReady signs to county lawmakers and emergency management officials at a Susquehanna County legislative session. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, after which 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 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 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.

“Susquehanna County has a history of severe weather which includes at least four tornadoes and 94 severe thunderstorms in the last 20 years,” Nicosia said. “The county is also susceptible to flooding and winter storms. Susquehanna County is in the Upper Susquehanna River basin of northern Pennsylvania with some steep hillsides prone to flash flooding. In addition, Susquehanna County lies in the track of many nor'easters, which can paralyze the county with heavy snow.”

“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 Nicosia.

“Just like communities, families need to be prepared for hazardous weather by having an action plan,” said Watson. “Through StormReady, the National Weather Service educates Americans about what to do when severe weather strikes, because it is ultimately everyone’s responsibility to protect themselves.”

The National Weather Service is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department. NOAA 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 more than 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Web:


NOAA’s National Weather Service:

StormReady program information:

National Weather Service in Binghamton: