NOAA 2006-R213
Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2006
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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its prestigious Bronze Medal to NOAA’s National Weather Service forecast office in Brownsville, Texas. The staff is presented the award in recognition for its dedication in providing essential National Weather Service products, services and support to its Spanish-speaking customers.

“This Bronze Medal recognizes the dedication demonstrated by NOAA’s National Weather Service to ensure that everyone has access to critical weather forecasts and is properly warned in the most expedient and effective way,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Their forecasts and warnings save lives, and this award is a way for our nation to applaud their efforts.”

Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez presented the award today at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Commerce Department grants the Bronze Medal to offices and employees who have made outstanding or significant contributions in support of the overall departmental goals that serve the nation.

The Brownsville weather forecast office serves an area that is demographically unique. Ninety percent of the population in this area is of Hispanic descent and 60 percent of those people speak Spanish as their primary language.

To properly serve this large and growing population, the staff of the Brownsville weather forecast office has engaged in a series of bold, innovative Spanish-language initiatives within its outreach, training and product-dissemination programs. Without these critical initiatives, thousands of Spanish-speaking people would have been at greater risk of receiving little or no weather information.

The staff worked hard to develop individual basic or intermediate Spanish language skills; strengthened relationships with Spanish media and included them in outreach activities; helped Telemundo create weather segments for local news; and created Spanish-language products for Internet users.

Broadcasters from Univision and Telemundo say the support of the Brownsville weather forecast office has been vital in helping them provide daily weather segments and weather preparedness information to Spanish-speakers throughout the region. The Spanish expertise of the office has also been utilized to support CNN National Spanish television and radio broadcasts. Brownsville staffers frequently support NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and the Miami weather forecast office during hurricane landfalls.

The National Weather Service is an office 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.

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