NOAA’s National Weather Service Declares Chesapeake, Va. ‘StormReady’

Officials from NOAA’s National Weather Service recently praised the city of Chesapeake, Virginia, for completing a set of rigorous warning and evacuation criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Bill Sammler, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Wakefield, Va. “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 the local NWS Weather Forecast Offices and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 910 StormReady communities in 47 states.

At the Chesapeake City Council meeting recently, Sammler presented a recognition letter and special StormReady signs to city officials. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years when the city will go through a recertification process.

“By being better prepared from the onslaught of severe weather through dedicated planning, education, and awareness, the StormReady program is helping Chesapeake advance its philosophy of ‘building a disaster resistant community.’ No community is disaster proof, but the StormReady program can help Chesapeake save lives,” said Chief Steve Best, Fire Chief/Emergency Services coordinator, City of Chesapeake, Va.

“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David Johnson, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes impact the United States annually, and hurricanes are a threat to the Gulf and East Coasts. Potentially deadly weather can affect every person in the country. That’s why NOAA’s National Weather Service developed the StormReady program.”