NOAA Declares Nation’s First StormReady® Supporter High School

Wilmington, N.C. Student Takes the Lead

December 10, 2008

GOES color enhanced infrared view on Dec. 2, 2008.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

The teachers and students of John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington, N. C., are part of the first high school in the country to prepare an action plan and practice drills making them ready for a tornado or other severe weather. This preparation has earned them the designation as a NOAA National Weather Service StormReady® Supporter.

To achieve this status, the school met rigorous guidelines, which includes developing severe weather safety plans, actively promoting severe weather safety through awareness activities and conducting safety training.

“Hoggard High School can be proud of this accomplishment and for paving the way for other high schools to take part in the StormReady® Supporter program,” said Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist with NOAA's National Weather Service forecast office in Wilmington. “Its students and faculty will be better prepared in the event of severe weather.”

This achievement is largely the result of Nicholas Younghaus, a Hoggard High School senior who interned at the National Weather Service’s Wilmington forecast office. Younghaus, who is autistic, spearheaded the school’s efforts to become a StormReady® Supporter through his desire to become a meteorologist and his belief in the importance of weather safety.

“When you have autism, you can be labeled by others and not given the opportunity to make a contribution. This shows what autistic students can do if they are given the chance,” said Younghaus.

Younghaus is now promoting the principles and guidelines of the StormReady® program to other area schools, making New Hanover County Schools an example for the rest of the country on severe weather safety and awareness in our school systems.

“It is important for schools to become StormReady® Supporters since the program provides for a greater sense of awareness and a roadmap for creating a safer environment for our children,” said Warren Lee, emergency management director of New Hanover County.

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