May 9,2007

Contact: Brian LaMarre
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service – Lubbock, TX
(806) 745-3916 ext. 223


The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its prestigious Bronze Medal to
NOAA’s National Weather Service forecast office in Lubbock, Texas. The staff is being recognized for providing exceptional public service during the extreme severe weather outbreak in May of 2005.

“Saving lives and property is the central function of each National Weather Service forecast office,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “The Bronze Medal demonstrates the hard work of the Lubbock forecast office to accomplish this goal.”

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph. D, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, presented the award today during a ceremony at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The Bronze Medal honors superior performance characterized by outstanding or significant contributions that have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the Commerce Department.

During the period of May 12-13, the Texas South Plains experienced one of the most sustained severe weather events in local history. A total of nine tornadoes and softball sized hail destroyed or damaged numerous homes and farm equipment. Well established partner relationships, community preparedness, effective coordination, innovative communications and local expertise enabled the office in Lubbock to provide exceptional warning and forecast services. As a result, there were no deaths and no serious injuries during this extreme severe weather outbreak.

The Lubbock staff anticipated the event during the morning hours of May 12 and immediately began a process of briefing emergency management officials and local media through use of conference calling and Internet Instant Messaging. During the 14 hour event, WFO Lubbock issued 100 warnings and 93 severe weather statements. An extraordinary amount of teamwork was involved in maintaining situational awareness and properly assimilating all of the technical information and real-time reports. This effort provided a seamless flow of accurate and life-saving information at a time when it was most critical.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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