(L - R) Steve McBride, Emergency Manager, NAS Key West; Capt. Patrick Lefere, Commanding Officer, NAS Key West; Jon Rizzo, WCM, and Fred Johnson, MIC, WFO Key West (Photo:WFO Key West)
Officials from the National Weather Service have recognized Naval Air Station Key West as a StormReady community. The Key West station is the fifth government/military complex in Florida to receive StormReady recognition.
"StormReady encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness in partnership with their local National Weather Service office," said Fred Johnson, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Key West. Johnson presented Naval Air Station officials with a recognition letter and StormReady signs at a special ceremony at the station on June 1.
The nationwide 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 area. Today, there are more than 1,700 StormReady communities across the country.
"The program is designed to help StormReady communities improve communication and safety skills needed to save lives - before, during and after a severe weather event," said Jonathan Rizzo, warning coordination meteorologist for the forecast office.
To be recognized as s StormReady, a community 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.
The StormReady program is part of NOAA National Weather Service's working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association. The StormReady recognition will expire in three years, after which the station will go through a renewal process.