Being Storm Ready

Nick Petro with the National Weather Service presents Robbie Smith with Montgomery County Emergency Management a StormReady plaque.
Friday, November 1, 2019 - 10:49am

More North Carolina counties have been designated as StormReady by the National Weather Service (NWS), as part of the Service’s program to help communities across America mitigate the effects from natural disasters. Twelve more counties joined 74 counties and nine communities in North Carolina already recognized as being StormReady. This year’s additional StormReady counties are Halifax, Macon, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Montgomery, Northampton, Perquimans, Rowan, Sampson and Watauga. 

According to the NWS, 98% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. Since 2016, four large storms in North Carolina have caused major flooding, loss of life and cost billions of dollars. Many people are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 as well as Florence and Tropical Storm Michael in 2018. Recently, Hurricane Dorian inundated Ocracoke and damaged other areas along the North Carolina coast. The state has also experienced several rounds of severe weather including winter storms, tornadoes and tropical storms.

It’s important that communities become more resilient through preparations that reduce their vulnerability from extreme weather and water events. North Carolina Emergency Management helps to accomplish this by working with community leaders and emergency managers to improve the planning, education and awareness needed to mitigate problem areas while developing the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property.

The StormReady program uses a grassroots approach to encourage counties and communities to proactively improve local hazardous weather operations by:

  • Establishing a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
  • Offering the public more than one way to receive severe weather warnings, alerts and forecasts
  • Creating a system that monitors weather conditions locally
  • Promoting the importance of public readiness through community seminars
  • Developing a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

In addition to the program’s designated communities, StormReady recognizes as Supporters organizations, businesses, facilities and local governments that are engaged in weather safety and preparedness practices but haven’t yet achieved the program’s requirements. Supporters are endorsed by local emergency management agencies;  

You can view the complete list of counties and communities designated as StormReady and Supporters online at https://www.weather.gov/stormready/nc-sr.  

Author: 
Brian R. Haines