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Creating a Weather-Ready Nation: When Seconds Count, StormReady® Communities are Prepared

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April 2000
By: Curtis Carey (301) 713-0622

To help Americans guard against the ravages of severe weather, the National Weather Service has designed StormReady, a program aimed at arming America's communities with the communication and safety tools necessary to save lives and property. The entire community - from the mayor, emergency managers, to business leaders and civic groups - can take the lead on becoming StormReady. Local National Weather Service forecast offices work with communities to complete an application and review process and help them meet specific objectives.

  • Ninety percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related. This severe weather results in around 500 (nearly 700 in 1998) deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in direct damage costs. The total economic costs average over $50 billion per year, according to the National Science Foundation. The National Weather Service watches out for the nation during severe weather, but it's what communities do before the threatening weather strikes that saves lives and property.
  • StormReady addresses the need for a new level of community awareness to protect life and property from extreme weather.

  • The partnership between local National Weather Service forecasters, the television and radio stations and area emergency managers saves hundreds of lives every year.
  • StormReady improves communication and increases awareness and preparedness in a community.

(NOTE: FEMA's Project Impact is designed to make a community more durable against the ravages of severe weather. StormReady prepares communities to respond to the threat of severe weather. The programs are complementary.)

  • We want every community in the country to know the value of StormReady. StormReady is an all severe weather program, from tornadoes, to tsunamis. StormReady in your community should save lives.
  • The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Tulsa, Oklahoma started StormReady as a grassroots effort to get their communities prepared for severe weather. The program is now growing nationwide.
  • This voluntary local program works so well and holds such great promise for other communities, we think it will catch on across the country.
  • StormReady provides detailed and clear recommendations which communities use to improve their hazardous weather related and public awareness programs. It also gives the community recognition for their preparedness accomplishments.
  • StormReady prepares communities with an action plan that responds to the threat of all types of severe weather -- from tornadoes to tsunamis.
  • The entire community - from the mayor, emergency managers, to business leaders and civic groups - can take the lead on becoming StormReady. Local National Weather Service forecast offices work with communities to complete an application and review process. To be officially 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.
  • StormReady Certification Process
    • An advisory board, comprised of National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologists, and state and local emergency managers, will review applications from municipalities and visit the locations to verify the steps made in the process to become StormReady.
    • StormReady communities must stay freshly prepared, because the designation is only valid for three years.
  • The advisory board seeks to officially designate 20 communities each year for the next five years as StormReady.

Benefits of NOAA Weather Radio

  • An important element of severe weather safety is NOAA Weather Radio. The National Weather Service broadcast advance warnings over NOAA Weather Radio for all severe weather.
  • We could have the best warnings in the world, but if we can't alert you to the need to take action they are useless.

  • When severe weather strikes, especially at night, NOAA Weather Radio saves lives. There are many stories of survival thanks to NOAA Weather Radio. The plant workers in Haysville, Kansas in May 1999, the large group of fans at a packed high school gymnasium in BeBe, Arkansas in January 1999, and a veterinarian's family in Georgia in February 2000, will all tell you there is no longer any doubt that NOAA Weather Radio saves lives.

(BACKGROUND: Between 80 to 90 percent of Americans can receive NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, however only 5 to 10 percent actually own a NOAA Weather Radio.)

  • NOAA Weather Radios should be as common as smoke detectors.
  • StormReady is a much needed program and together with our partners of emergency managers and the broadcast media we will prepare communities to survive.

National Weather Service
Office of Climate, Water, & Weather Services


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Last Updated: February 27, 2001