06/06/05 — County declared 'storm ready'

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County declared 'storm ready'

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on June 6, 2005 1:47 PM

Wayne County will be recognized Tuesday as one of 32 counties in the state identified as a "storm ready community."

Two representatives from the Raleigh office of the National Weather Service will present the county with a letter and special "StormReady" signs.

"StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Jeff Orrock, warning coordination meteorologist at the Weather Service forecast office in Raleigh. "StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property - before and during the event."

According to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle threats from severe weather and flooding.

The program is voluntary and provides communities with advice from a partnership between the local weather forecast office and state and local emergency managers.

The StormReady recognition is effective for three years. To maintain the recognition, the county will have to go through a re-certfication process.

"StormReady reassures our citizens that we are prepared and ready to respond to the many disasters that could affect our county and that through our public education, our citizens are better prepared before, during and after a disaster strikes", said Joe Gurley, director of the Wayne County Emergency Services department.

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 an

d 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 mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady will help us create better prepared communities throughout the country," Orrock said.