Preparedness for Weather Hazards
Americans live in the most severe weather-prone country on Earth. Each year, Americans cope with an average of 100,000 thunderstorms, 10,000 of which are severe; 5,000 floods; 1,000 tornadoes; and an average of 2 land falling deadly hurricanes. And this on top of winter storms, intense summer heat, high winds, wild fires and other deadly weather impacts. Some 90% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in damage.
Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service praise SIPH for completing a set of rigorous warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady®. StormReady® is a registered trademark of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
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, Okla., area. There are now more than 1,235 StormReady communities across the country. SIPH became the first such entity in the nation to receive this recognition.
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.
More than half of eligible Idaho locations (30 counties, 121 cities & communities, the Idaho National Laboratory and now SIPH) have achieved StormReady recognition and participate in the program.
Left to Right: Vernon Preston, National Weather Service Office (Pocatello), and SIPH staff members; Denise O'Farrell, Rod Horejs, Penny Nelson, Darin Letzring, and Mary Howell