(L - R) -- ARTCC Staff Manager Steve Stooksberry, Air Traffic Manager Terry Locke, CWSU MIC Jim Reynolds and WFO Albuquerque MIC Shawn Bennett (Photo: WFO Albuquerque)
(May 22, 2012) -- National Weather Service officials have recognized the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center as a StormReady® Supporter. It is the first StormReady Supporter designation in New Mexico and the first FAA facility of any kind to be recognized as a StormReady Supporter.
"StormReady encourages government entities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness in partnership with their local National Weather Service office," said Shawn Bennett, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Albuquerque.
Bennett and Jim Reynolds, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Center Weather Service Unit, presented FAA officials with a recognition letter and a special StormReady Supporter sign during a ceremony on May 21 at the FAA Air Route Traffic Control facility in Albuquerque.
The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities, government agencies, universities and private sector entities develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats. The program is voluntary and provides communities with clear-cut advice from the local National Weather Service forecast office and state and local emergency managers. It began in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa area. Today, there are more than 1,900 StormReady communities.
"The program is designed to help improve communication and safety skills needed to save lives - before, during and after a severe weather event," said Kerry Jones, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the forecast office.
To be recognized as StormReady, a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center must be in place; have the ability to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert local individuals; have a system that monitors local weather conditions; promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and, develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.