By Tina Alvey
Greenbrier is only the seventh county in West Virginia to receive the “StormReady” designation from the National Weather Service.
The NWS recognized the efforts of Al Whitaker and Paula Brown to secure the designation during a ceremony held at the outset of Tuesday evening’s Greenbrier County Commission meeting. Whitaker is director of the Greenbrier County Homeland Security and Emergency Management office, and Brown is the assistant director.
The nationwide community preparedness program encourages communities to develop plans to deal with local severe weather and flooding threats, according to information provided by the NWS’s Blacksburg, Va., office. A voluntary program, StormReady was launched in 1999 with seven communities and has grown to include 2,050 communities across the nation.
To be recognized as StormReady, a community must meet several criteria, including establishing a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center, creating a system that monitors local weather conditions and promoting the importance of public readiness through community seminars.
“StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property, before and during the (hazardous weather) event,” said Phil Hysell, warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS Weather Forecast office in Blacksburg.
“The United States is the most severe-weather-prone region of the world,” Hysell noted. “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.”
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