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Americans live in the most severe-weather prone country on Earth. Each year, the United States is hit with more than 10,000 thunderstorms, 2,500 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and on average two landfalling hurricanes. In addition, the country suffers through winter storms, intense summer heat, high winds, and other deadly weather. Bad weather can affect every person in the country. That's why NOAA’s National Weather Service developed the StormReady program.
Communities certified as StormReady are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through better planning, education, and awareness. The program started in 1999 in tornado prone Tulsa, Okla., to provide the city with the communication and safety skills to spread the word quickly about oncoming severe weather. Being StormReady means community leaders and emergency managers have strengthened local safety programs and are ready to save lives and property.
In 2007, severe weather and floods injured or killed more than 4,200 Americans and caused more than $12 billion in damage (Summary of Natural Hazard Statistics for 2007 in the United States). StormReady tries to reduce these numbers.
“In an era of threats, every community should be StormReady,” said Jack Hayes., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “The StormReady program improves a community’s ability to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from a weather-related incident and is an important part a community’s integrated all hazards approach to emergency management.”
The StormReady program provides useful guidelines to help communities create and maintain a comprehensive warning system. These guidelines help standardize the way warning information is received and disseminated at the local level, making it less confusing to the public. It also gives the public a better sense of security knowing that local warning procedures follow national guidelines.
StormReady recognition lasts for three years, after which a community will go through a renewal process.
To become StormReady, a community must:
No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives. To date, there are 1,405 StormReady communities throughout the United States.
The StormReady program is part of NOAA’s National Weather Service working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association.
Make sure your community is ready for any kind of weather with the NOAA’s StormReady program. To learn more, visit the StormReady Program Web site.