Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service praised Campbell County Virginia and Caswell County North Carolina for completing a set of rigorous warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady®.
“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Phil Hysell Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Blacksburg, VA. “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, Oklahoma area. There are now more than 1,200 StormReady communities across the country, but Campbell County and Caswell County are only the second and third communities, respectfully, in Blacksburg’s forecast area.
A recognition ceremony was held August 20th, 2007 in Rustburg, VA, where National Weather Service officials presented StormReady signs to Aubrey Cheatham, public safety director, Campbell County, Karen Briggs, Administrative Assistant, Campbell County, Christin Anthony, former Administrative assistant, Campbell County, and Mike Cocker, VDEM Regional Coordinator for Region 3.
On September 17th, 2007 in Yanceyville, NC, National Weather Service officials presented StormReady signs to Jim Gusler, Caswell County Emergency Management Director, Dennis Hancock, Operations Officer, Caswell County Office of Emergency Services, and Joe Wright, NCEM Area 9 Coordinator.
The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the counties will go through a renewal process.
“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods, said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, USAF (Ret.), former 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.
“Just like communities, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, the National Weather Service plans to educate every American about what to do when severe weather strikes because it is ultimately each individual’s responsibility to protect him or herself,” Hysell said.
For more information about StormReady visit: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov
StormReady® is a registered trademark used by the National Weather Service.