NOAA's National Weather Service
Recognizes Vermilion County, Illinois as a StormReady® County
April 17th, 2012Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) today praised the Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), at the monthly Vermilion County Board meeting Tuesday evening, 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 Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS's central Illinois weather forecast office in Lincoln. "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 1880 StormReady communities across the country.
Patrick Bak, senior forecaster at the NWS in Lincoln, and Miller presented a certificate and special StormReady signs to Vermilion County EMA Director Ted Fisher and Vermilion County Severe Weather Coordinator Rick Harper, at a 6 p.m. ceremony today in Danville at the county board meeting. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, after which the county will go through a renewal process.
"Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods," said Ernie Goetsch, Meteorologist-In-Charge of the Lincoln NWS office. "More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1200 tornadoes affect the United States annually. Potentialy deadly weather can affect every person in the country. That's why the NWS 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.
"The United States is the most severe weather prone region of the world. The National Weather Service mission is to reduce loss of life and property from these storms. StormReady will help us create better prepared communities throughout the country," Bak said.
"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 everyone in the United States about what to do when severe weather strikes because it is ultimately each individual's responsibility to protect him or herself," explained Bak.
StormReady is part of a National Weather Service working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association.
On the web:
NWS StormReady Program: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov
NWS Lincoln, IL Office: http://www.weather.gov/Lincoln
StormReady® is a registered trademark used by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Pictured above (from L-R) Chris Miller (NWS), Rick Harper (Severe Weather Coordinator VCEMA), Ted Fisher (Director VCEMA) and Patrick Bac (NWS).