NOAA National Weather Service officials have recognized Crawford County, Ark. as a StormReady® community. Steven Piltz, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Tulsa, presented the award at the last Quorum Court meeting. Crawford is the 11th Arkansas County to be recognized as StormReady.
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 area. Today, there are more than 1,300 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.
Disaster preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. Educating yourself and your family on environmental hazards, maintaining a disaster supply kit, and having an emergency plan in place, are all proactive ways you can be better prepared.
The StormReady recognition expires in three years, after which the county will go through a renewal process. For more information on the National Weather Service’s StormReady program, visit: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov