NOAA06-R256
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ron Trumbla
5/30/06
NOAA News Releases 2006
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NOAA’S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DECLARES
WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT STORMREADY

Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service have declared Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as a StormReady® community. As the first theme park and resort in the nation to achieve this recognition, Walt Disney World joins more than 1,050 StormReady communities throughout the United States.

“More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes affect the United States annually, and hurricanes pose a significant threat – especially to the coastal regions of the Gulf and southeastern states,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the National Weather Service. “The National Weather Service developed the StormReady program to help protect every American from such hazardous weather.”

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 the local National Weather Service forecast office and state and local emergency managers. The StormReady program began in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area.

“StormReady encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness in partnership with their local National Weather Service office," said Bill Proenza, director of the National Weather Service southern region. “StormReady helps communities improve communication and safety skills needed to save lives — before, during and after the event.”

Located on 28,000 acres of land near Orlando and one of the most frequented vacation destinations in the world, Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971 with the Magic Kingdom theme park, hotels, campgrounds, golf courses, and shopping villages.

Walt Disney World Resort has its own emergency operations center, 24-hour warning capabilities, and an amateur radio club. Its emergency management staff is highly regarded by the National Weather Service and other federal, state and local government agencies.

“We appreciate this acknowledgement of our continuous efforts to ensure the year-round safety of our guests and cast members,” said Lee A. Cockerell, executive vice president of operations for Walt Disney World. “Our partnerships with local, state and federal emergency management agencies are part of our overall safety strategy that enables us to provide our guests with the highest level of security and comfort possible.”

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.

Walt Disney World Resort is one of 70 StormReady designations in Florida. In a special ceremony at the resort, officials were presented with a formal recognition letter and StormReady signs. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years as resort conducts the renewal process.

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 more than 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov

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

StormReady program: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov