NOAA's National Weather Service Declares Packers StormReady

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It won"t slow a blitzing safety, but recent action by the Green Bay Packers will help keep football fans safer should severe weather occur during a game at Lambeau Field.

The Packers organization adopted a rigorous set of detection and warning criteria to provide protection from severe weather for the future. As a result, the Packers" stadium is being recognized by the National Weather Service as StormReady". -- only the second National Football League facility to attain the distinction and the first in the National Conference.

National Weather Service Central Region director Lynn P. Maximuk and Gary R. Austin, meteorologist in charge of NOAA"s Green Bay National Weather Service office, presented a StormReady plaque and certificate to Packers officials in a ceremony Thursday at Lambeau Field.

"StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," Maximuk said. "StormReady arms communities and organizations 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 and organizations develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats. The program is voluntary and provides clear-cut advice from a partnership between local National Weather Service forecast offices, state and local emergency managers and individual organizations. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now over 1,600 StormReady communities across the country.

Austin noted the significance of meeting StormReady criteria. "The procedures team officials adopted to be recognized as StormReady will help protect Packer fans attending games, especially during the early season when severe weather could be a factor. This is accomplished in part through implementation of redundant detection and dissemination systems and using the latest technologies in communications systems.

"About 500 Americans lose their lives every year to severe weather and floods. More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes impact 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 or organization 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 StormReady program is part of the NOAA National Weather Service's working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth"s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov.

StormReady" is a registered trademark used by the National Weather Service.

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