The Amarillo National Weather Service (NWS), along with state and local officials of the Texas and Oklahoma Emergency Management, have laid the groundwork for communities across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles to seek recognition as being "StormReady".
StormReady, a voluntary program, is designed to help communities take a proactive approach to the kinds of severe weather that affect their area by improving local hazardous weather operations and heightening public awareness. Communities work with the local National Weather Service office, state and local emergency managers to become "StormReady".
The program was started by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Tulsa as an effort to educate residents about storm safety. It is now expanding nationwide in an effort to spread information about severe weather preparedness and what to do when severe weather strikes.
For a county or community to be recognized as "StormReady", they must meet predetermined criteria as set by national, regional, and local StormReady advisory boards. The criteria includes such things as a 24-hour warning point and/or emergency operations center, promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars, have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public, create a system that monitors weather conditions locally, and develop a formal hazardous weather plan (e.g. training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises).
Emergency Managers can apply for StormReady at this website: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/howto.htm
The goal of achieving StormReady status is to increase the chances of local citizens surviving a tornado, hurricane, flash flood, tsunami, or any other type of severe weather that threatens their area of the country. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are the primary focus of the Amarillo StormReady program.
For additional information or to request an application, call Mike Gittinger at the Amarillo National Weather Service Forecast Office at 806-335-1121.
For additional information on the StormReady program, visit http://www.stormready.noaa.gov.