BLACKSBURG- Virginia Tech has completed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service warning preparedness requirements necessary to earn the distinction of being StormReady®.
Virginia Tech becomes the first college or university in Virginia to become StormReady®, and just the 50th in the United States.
"StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Phil Hysell, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Blacksburg. "StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property, before and during a severe weather 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, Oklahoma area. There are now more than 1,500 StormReady communities across the country.
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 community;
- Create a system that monitors local weather conditions;
- Promote the importance of readiness through community seminars;
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
Virginia Tech will be recognized at a March 29 ceremony at the Inn at Virginia Tech at 12:30 PM. National Weather Service officials will present StormReady signs to campus officials. The StormReady recognition will be in effect for three years at which point the university will go through a renewal process.