Public Information Statement

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
900 AM CST SUN FEB 19 2006


...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN ALABAMA STARTS TODAY...
HIGHLIGHTING SKYWARN AND THE EMERGENCY MANAGERS WEATHER
INFORMATION SYSTEM...


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE...ALONG WITH LOCAL...COUNTY...
AND STATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND THE NEWS MEDIA ACROSS
ALABAMA...WILL BE PARTICIPATING IN SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS
WEEK FROM SUNDAY...FEBRUARY 19TH THROUGH FRIDAY...FEBRUARY 24TH.

EACH DAY DURING AWARENESS WEEK THE FOCUS WILL BE ON DIFFERENT ASPECT
OF SEVERE WEATHER.


SUNDAY...FEBRUARY 19 WILL FOCUS ON THE SKYWARN STORM SPOTTER PROGRAM
AND EMERGENCY MANAGERS WEATHER INFORMATION SYSTEM...EMWIN.


MONDAY...FEBRUARY 20 WILL BE DEVOTED TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS.


TUESDAY...FEBRUARY 21 WILL EMPHASIZE LIGHTNING...ONE OF THE
UNDERRATED KILLERS.


WEDNESDAY...FEBRUARY 22 WILL FOCUS ON TORNADO AWARENESS AND WILL
SERVE AS A TORNADO DRILL DAY.


THURSDAY...FEBRUARY 23 WILL HIGHLIGHT FLOODING AND FLASH
FLOODS...THE NUMBER ONE WEATHER KILLER IN THE UNITED STATES.


FRIDAY...FEBRUARY 24 IS NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS AND EMERGENCY
ALERT SYSTEM DAY.


THE PURPOSE OF SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IS TO DRAW ATTENTION TO
THE MANY ASPECTS OF SEVERE WEATHER WHICH AFFECT ALL OF US...TO FOCUS
ON SAFETY...AND TO LEARN WHAT TO DO WHEN HAZARDOUS WEATHER
THREATENS.


NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS WILL BROADCAST SEVERE WEATHER
INFORMATION AND SAFETY TIPS EACH DAY.  IN ADDITION...THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE WILL ISSUE STATEMENTS EACH DAY CONTAINING IMPORTANT
SAFETY RULES THAT YOU CAN USE TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED
ONES FORM THE DANGERS OF SEVERE WEATHER.


SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK BEGINS..TODAY...WITH A LOOK AT SKYWARN
AND THE EMERGENCY MANAGERS WEATHER INFORMATION SYSTEM...EMWIN.

SEVERE WEATHER CAN STRIKE DURING ANY MONTH OF THE YEAR...AT ANY TIME
OF THE DAY OR NIGHT.  WHEN SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS THREATEN...THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CALLS SKYWARN VOLUNTEERS INTO ACTION.
SKYWARN VOLUNTEERS ARE THE EYES AND EARS OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE...PROVIDING INSTANT REPORTS OF SEVERE WEATHER...INCLUDING
HAIL...HIGH WINDS...AND DANGEROUS CLOUD FORMATIONS.


SKYWARN SPOTTERS KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THE SKY ANYTIME SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH. MANY COMMUNITIES DEPLOY SPOTTERS AROUND THE
EDGE OF THE CITY AND USE THEIR EARLY REPORTS OF IMPENDING HAZARDOUS
WEATHER TO WARN THEIR COMMUNITY.  SOME SPOTTERS RELAY REPORTS FROM
THEIR HOME OR BUSINESS...WHILE OTHERS TRY TO GET AS CLOSE TO THE
STORM AS POSSIBLE...ALWAYS THOUGH KEEPING THEIR PERSONAL SAFETY IN
MIND.


WHO ARE THESE SKYWARN VOLUNTEERS?  A LARGE NUMBER OF SKYWARN STORM
SPOTTERS IN ALABAMA ARE AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS...OR HAMS.  THESE
PUBLIC-SERVICE MINDED INDIVIDUALS MAKE IDEAL STORM SPOTTERS...SINCE
THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE THEIR REPORTS.  THEY ARE WILLING
TO BE TRAINED AND THEY HAVE A REAL INTEREST IN HELPING THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE AND THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITIES PREPARE FOR SEVERE
WEATHER. AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS ARE ON CALL 24 HOURS A DAY...365
DAYS A YEAR...EVEN THOUGH THEY RECEIVE NO COMPENSATION OF ANY KIND
FOR THEIR HARD WORK.


MANY OTHER GROUPS PARTICIPATE IN THE SKYWARN PROGRAM...INCLUDING LAW
ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES...FIRE DEPARTMENTS...UTILITY COMPANIES...RESCUE
SQUADS...AND THE NEWS MEDIA.  IN SOME AREAS...INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS
ARE TRAINED AS SPOTTERS AND ASKED TO RELAY THEIR REPORTS TO THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.  SPOTTERS ARE A VITAL LINK IN THE WARNING
PROCESS AND IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE AS MANY TRAINED SPOTTERS IN EACH
COUNTY AS POSSIBLE.


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CAN HELP YOUR COMMUNITY SET UP A
SKYWARN SPOTTER NETWORK.  FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SKYWARN AND HOW
YOU CAN HELP...CONTACT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN
BIRMINGHAM AT 205-664-3010.


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS A METHOD OF DISTRIBUTING WEATHER
INFORMATION ON A NATIONAL BASIS.  EMWIN INFORMATION IS DISTRIBUTED
AS A DATA SIGNAL RELAYED THROUGH THE WEATHER SATELLITES.  SOFTWARE
ALLOWS YOUR PERSONAL COMPUTER TO DISPLAY WEATHER INFORMATION 24
HOURS A DAY.


THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THE EMWIN IS TO PROVIDE TIMELY WARNINGS OF
APPROACHING SEVERE WEATHER.  EMWIN PRIORITIZES THE DATA WITH FIRST
THE TRANSMISSION OF WARNINGS AND SEVERE WEATHER SUMMARIES.
SECONDLY...ROUTINE WEATHER...SATELLITE IMAGES...AND WEATHER GRAPHICS
ARE ALSO TRANSMITTED.  THE SERVICE IS PUBLIC INFORMATION AND IS
FREE...THERE ARE NO MONTHLY FEES TO RECEIVE THE DATA.  THE ONLY COST
IS FOR THE RECEIVING EQUIPMENT AND INEXPENSIVE COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE.

THE FOCUS FOR MONDAY WILL BE ON SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS.  FOR
ADDITIONAL DETAILS CONCERNING SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK...PLEASE
VISIT THE NATIONAL WEATHER OFFICE IN BIRMINGHAM`S WEBSITE AT
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/BMX.
$$
JBW

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.