NOAA’S National Weather Service Recognizes John F. Kennedy Space Center as a Storm-Ready Community
Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service NWS) have recognized John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at Cape Canaveral, FL, as a StormReady community. Home to NASA’s space shuttle launch program, KSC is the first government site in the state and the eighth in the nation to be recognized as StormReady.
“Every year, around 500 Americans lose their lives to severe weather and floods,” said Scott Rayder, NOAA chief of staff. “More than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 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.”
The nationwide 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 NWS forecast offices and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, OK, area. Today, there are more than 1,200 StormReady communities across the country.
The StormReady recognition for KSC will be in effect for three years when the facility will go through a renewal process. The severe weather action plan includes an effective notification process for the work force.
“This recognition builds on the already outstanding partnership between NOAA and NASA,” Rayder said. “Without NASA, we would not have the high degree of life-saving benefits currently provided by our satellite services. At the same time, our Spaceflight Meteorology Group, at the Johnson Space Center, plays a crucial role in support of NASA’s space shuttle program. These are just two examples where our missions are intertwined.”
Located approximately 45 miles east of Orlando, the KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are working government facilities that are home to more than 10,000 military personnel, civilian employees, and family members. It is the nation’s only space shuttle launch facility and a premier vacation destination for thousands of visitors annually.
“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Steven Cooper, acting director, NWS Southern Region. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property.”
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;
–Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America’s scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries, and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts, and protects.