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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded two prestigious Bronze Medals to NOAA’s National Weather Service forecast office in Binghamton, N.Y. The staff is being recognized for exemplary customer service that enabled school officials to take life-saving actions from damaging winds caused by a severe thunderstorm on June 6, 2005, in Endicott, N.Y., and for enabling public officials and citizens to take necessary life-saving actions during the severe flooding of April 2005 in the upper Susquehanna and Delaware River Basins.

Saving lives and property is the central function of each National Weather Service forecast office,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “These two Bronze Medals demonstrate the hard work of the Binghamton forecast office to accomplish this goal.”

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, today presented the award during a ceremony at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The Bronze Medal honors superior performance characterized by outstanding or significant contributions that have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the Commerce Department.

Damaging winds from severe thunderstorms pose a significant threat to citizens of central New York. These storms do not develop classic weather radar characteristics of storms that produce large tornadoes and are more difficult to identify and issue accurate warnings. Such was the case on June 6, 2005, when strong winds from a severe thunderstorm tore the roof off the Endicott, N.Y., elementary school. Through training and applied research, the Binghamton’s forecast office team accurately accessed the severe weather threat and delivered timely and accurate warnings. Through extensive outreach to the community, the Weather Forecast Office ensured the warnings would be received and understood and appropriate actions would be taken to save lives.

From April 2-4, 2005, heavy rain and snowmelt combined to produce a major flood in the Susquehanna and Delaware River Basins. The Susquehanna at Binghamton, N.Y., produced its worst flooding in 70 years. A record high crest was recorded at Beaver Kill, N.Y., along the Delaware. For much of the Delaware River it was the second major flood in six months and rivaled the historic flood of 1955. The challenge for Binghamton’s team of meteorologists was to accurately predict the amount of water from snowmelt and rain running into the rivers so that timely and accurate flood warnings could be issued. The Binghamton team was able to provide river forecasts and flood warnings with nearly 48 hours lead time by combining the rainfall and snowmelt estimates while alerting customers to the threat five days before flooding occurred. This early warning enabled Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton to take action that saved the hospital from the advancing floodwaters.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by 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, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

  • Author: Marcie Katcher (631) 244-0149
  • Barbara Watson - Meteorologist in Charge (MIC) NWS Binghamton, NY
  • David Nicosia- Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) NWS Binghamton, NY

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Page last modified: May 15, 2007
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