NOAA 2006-028
Contact: Marcie Katcher
NOAA News Releases 2006
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Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service today praised the city of Norwich, Conn., for completing a set of rigorous warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being the first StormReady site in the state of Connecticut. Over 1,000 communities in 50 states have attained the important public safety designation.

“StormReady is a partnership effort between NOAA’s National Weather Service, and state and local emergency managers designed to help communities deal with threatening natural events and to better protect their citizens,” said Timothy R.E. Keeney, deputy assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Norwich is leading the way in preparedness and emergency response in Connecticut by achieving this StormReady designation.”

Keeney noted that becoming StormReady is the first step toward being TsunamiReady, The NOAA initiative to expand the existing United States tsunami warning system. “We hope coastal cities throughout Connecticut will follow Norwich’s lead and become both StormReady and TsunamiReady.”

StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Gary Conte, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office in Upton, N.Y. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event.”

Keeney is scheduled to join with the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security officials to present a StormReady plaque, poster and signs to the Mayor and City Council of Norwich, Conn. at the Norwich Council Chambers at City Hall on Monday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, at which time the city will go through a renewal process.

Keeney said that Norwich is the 9th New England Community to achieve the StormReady capability. Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont each have one StormReady community. Rhode Island has two StormReady communities. Massachusetts has three.

“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 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.

“The StormReady program provides an improved weather warning and preparedness service for the city of Norwich,” said Gene Arters, Director of the Norwich Office of Emergency Management. “We developed an agreement with Emergency Alert System radio stations WICH, WCTY, WKNL, and WNLC that will allow the city to expedite the dissemination of public emergency messages. The city of Norwich is excited to be recognized as StormReady and looks forward to cooperative weather monitoring with the National Weather Service.”

StormReady is a 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 1000 StormReady communities in 50 states.

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 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 sign and program information:

National Weather Service forecast office, Upton, N.Y.: