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NOAA illustration using StormReady poster.Feb. 27, 2006 The NOAA National Weather Service has declared Benton County, Ark., the nation's 1,000th StormReady® community. Benton County, Ark., is served by the NOAA National Weather Service office in Tulsa, Okla., where the popular life-saving program originated. A formal recognition ceremony is scheduled for April. (Click NOAA illustration using StormReady poster for larger view. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

"StormReady has been a tremendous success in terms of raising community awareness of potential weather hazards and elevating the overall preparedness on a local level when severe weather occurs," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad Lautenbacher, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "Our objective is to have the entire nation StormReady. This is a community-by-community effort, and Benton County has worked hard to earn this title. We look forward to working with communities around the nation in helping them attain the title of a StormReady community."

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 the local NOAA National Weather Service weather forecast office and state and local emergency managers.

"This milestone demonstrates the remarkable achievements of the StormReady program. Since its inception in 1999, the program has spread from the Tulsa area to all 50 states today," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the NOAA National Weather Service. "NOAA's National Weather Service is proud of what Benton County has accomplished in an effort to better protect its residents from hazardous weather."

Benton County officials will be presented with a formal recognition letter and StormReady signs during a ceremony at 11 a.m. April 7 at the Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the county will go through a renewal process.

"The United States is the most severe-weather prone region of the world, and the mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms. StormReady helps us create communities that are better prepared across the country," said Steven Piltz, meteorologist-in-charge of the Tulsa forecast office. Piltz and meteorologist Lans Rothfusz, formally with the Tulsa forecast office and now meteorologist-in-charge in Atlanta, 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.

StormReady® is a registered trademark used by the NOAA National Weather Service.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA StormReady

NOAA National Weather Service

Media Contact:
Ron Trumbla, NOAA National Weather Service Southern Region, (817) 978-1111 ext. 140 or Steven Piltz, (918) 832-4115