Bay City State Recreation Area is Recognized as StormReady


Officials from NOAA's National Weather Service today praised management of the Bay City State Recreation Area for completing a set of warning criteria necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady.
            “StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Rich Pollman, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NOAA’s Detroit Weather Forecast Office in White Lake MI. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event.”
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 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, Okla., area. There are now more than 1,500 StormReady communities across the country.
            Richard Wagenmaker, Meteorologist in Charge of the Detroit Weather Forecast Office, will present a recognition letter and special StormReady signs to recreation area officials at a news conference on the steps of the state capitol building in Lansing on April 13, 2010 at 11 a.m.  The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years, after which a renewal process will be conducted. Bay City State Recreation area becomes the third park in the United States and the first in Michigan to earn StormReady status.
            “Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” Pollman said. “More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes affect the United States annually, and hurricanes are a threat to the Gulf and East coasts. Potentially deadly weather can affect every person in the country. That’s why NOAA's National Weather Service developed the StormReady program.”
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;
·    Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
            “The United States is the most severe weather prone region of the world. The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady will help us create better prepared communities throughout the country,” Pollman said.
 “The safety of our park visitors and campers is a top priority, and the StormReady program has helped us reach a new level of preparedness in case a severe weather event occurs,” said park supervisor Mike Evanoff.

              “We’re proud to have Bay City recognized as the first Michigan state park, StormReady community and, more importantly, for being able to provide this important service to park visitors and the surrounding community,” said Ron Olson, Chief of the DNRE Recreation Division.

            “Just like communities, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, the National Weather Service plans to educate everyone in the United States about what to do when severe weather strikes because it is ultimately each individual’s responsibility to protect him or herself.”

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