(Right to Left) -- WFO Shreveport Senior Meteorologist Bill Parker, MIC Armando Garza, Wiley President and CEO Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, Shreveport WCM Keith Stellman, Wiley Vice President Nathaniel E. Hewitt, III, and Wiley Executive Vice President Dr. Glenda F. Carter (Photo: WFO Shreveport)
(Jan. 18, 2011) -- National Weather Service officials recognized Wiley College in Marshall, Texas as a StormReady® community on January 11. The following day, the city of Marshall was also recognized as a StormReady community. Wiley College is home to more than 1,700 students and faculty and Marshall has a population of approximately 24,000.
Shreveport, La. forecast office Meteorologist-in-Charge Armando Garza presented a recognition letter and StormReady signs to college officials during a special ceremony on campus. A letter and signs were also presented to Marshall officials at city hall.
"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 Garza.
Wiley is the first United Negro College Fund Institution to become StormReady, and only the second Historically Black College or University in the country to achieve StormReady status. It operates its own campus wide notification system, with severe weather notifications sent via web, text, e-mail and broadcast on the campus radio station. The college has identified shelter locations throughout the campus and also works closely with the city of Marshall.
The nationwide community 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 the local National Weather Service forecast office and state and local emergency managers. The program began in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. Today, there are more than 1,800 StormReady communities.
To be recognized as StormReady, a community must 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; and, develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.