Pictured from left to right: William Hess, Captain; Bill Borghoff, Senior Forecaster NWS Twin Cities; Todd Krause, Warning Coordination Meteorologist NWS Twin Cities; Julie A. Nicklin, Warden; Larry Gannon, Environmental and Safety Compliance Administrator; Dennis Dinneen, Waseca County Emergency Manager; and Russell Heisner, Associate Warden.
Federal Correctional Institution, Waseca in Waseca, MN is the first correctional institution on a local, state, or federal level to become StormReady®.
National Weather Service officials and Waseca County Emergency Management recognized Federal Correctional Institution, Waseca (FCI Waseca) as a StormReady® community on July 10. FCI Waseca houses around 1,075 inmates and employs 200 staff. Waseca, MN is about 65 miles south of Minneapolis.
NWS Twin Cities, MN, Weather Forecast Office Warning Coordination Meteorologist Todd Krause presented a recognition letter to prison officials during a special ceremony.
“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 Krause.
FCI Waseca has developed procedures to obtain severe weather warnings in a number of ways, including a local lightning detection system, to secure inmates and staff in a timely manner prior to the onset of severe weather. These actions — and the individual actions taken by those in the institution— are part of NWS’s vision of building a Weather-Ready Nation.
StormReady® is a nationwide community preparedness program that 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 NWS forecast office and state and local emergency managers. The program began in 1999, with seven communities in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. Today, there are around 2,100 StormReady® sites.
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.