On May 14, 2001, the city of Lake Mills, WI, officially became the first Wisconsin community to be designated as StormReady. At 915 A.M. Tuesday, May 29, 2001, in a brief ceremony at City Hall,. Kenneth R. Rizzo, Meteorologist-in-Charge, and Rusty Kapela, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, of the National Weather Service (NWS) Milwaukee/Sullivan Office presented a StormReady certificate and two 2' by 2' StormReady road signs to Steven Wilke, City Manager, and Todd Yandre, Deputy Fire Chief. Also in attendance were Joe Nehmer, Jefferson County Emergency Management Director, and Shirley Connors, Rock County Emergency Management Director, who assisted Rusty in a pre-certification/validation site visit to Lake Mills.
StormReady is a National Weather Service program that addresses the need for a higher level of community awareness in order to minimize the loss of life and property from extreme weather. StormReady improves communication and increases awareness and preparedness in a community, and involves an application and certification process. StormReady is not a part of "Project Impact." The Federal Emergency Management Administration's (FEMA) Project Impact is designed to make a community more durable against the ravages of severe weather. StormReady prepares communities to respond to the threat of severe weather. A StormReady designation is good for two (2) years, after which the community must re-apply for certification.
In order to be designated as StormReady, the city of Lake Mills upgraded their communications and severe weather awareness infrastructure during the past 5 months. They met or exceeded established criteria in six (6) areas: 1) Communications, 2) NWS Information Reception, 3) Weather & Water Monitoring Systems, 4) Local Warning Dissemination, including NOAA Weather Radios in local government-owned buildings with public access, 5) Community Preparedness- Safety/Spotter Talks and public education via media, and 6) Administrative Tools/Record Keeping.
Assisting Steven Wilke and Todd Yandre in meeting the StormReady criteria was Rudy Schaar, resident of Lake Mills, who also is the Data Acquisition Program Manager (DAPM) at the Milwaukee/Sullivan Office. Their team effort assured that Lake Mills quickly meet the criteria.
As of May 22, 2001, there were 156 StormReady communities in 27 states. In the year 2001 alone, 114 new communities have been added in 14 states. The state of Idaho has 46 StormReady communities - the most for any state.
Some insurance companies across the country have expressed a willingness to lower premium rates on residential and business properties in StormReady communities. Of course, StormReady communities also have some "bragging rights" that come along with the designation! Being StormReady is a significant accomplishment.
Additional information about StormReady can be found on these webpages:
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Rusty Kapela via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The StormReady road sign being presented to Lake Mills City Officials inside
From left to right: Joe Nehmer, Ken Rizzo, Rusty Kapela, Todd Yandre, and Steven Wilke.
View of the Lake Mills City Hall which was dedicated in 1999.