Building a Weather-Ready Nation: Going Beyond Forecasts and Warnings

By Katy Galimberti, Staff Writer
August 22, 2014; 3:10 AM ET
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Destructive, damaging weather can wreak havoc across communities, especially vulnerable ones with limited resources and education about preparing for detrimental impacts.

Powerful storms such as Superstorm Sandy, the deadly Moore tornado and dangerous flash flooding on Long Island are all examples of how a community needs to be ready for relentless weather that spawns massive amounts of monetary loss and devastation.

The National Weather Service, along with partners throughout the weather enterprise including AccuWeather, is on a mission to change that.

With the Weather-Ready Nation Program, NWS Director Dr. Louis Uccellini hopes to see communities across the country become better prepared and informed about extreme weather to protect structures and, more importantly, lives.

The strategic plan includes updating technology and enhanced partnerships with all aspects of the American Weather Enterprise - industry, academic and government, to assure communities have the preparations and information they need to avoid hazardous impacts of any weather phenomenon.

AccuWeather Severe Weather Center
AccuWeather Hurricane Center
AccuWeather Recognized as National Ambassador, Leader in Weather-Ready Nation Initiative

The program's the goal is clear: better information for better decisions.

Workers continue to dig through the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary School after a tornado moved through Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

In a recent visit to AccuWeather global headquarters in State College, Pennsylvania, Uccellini talked with Barry Myers, AccuWeather CEO, about the success of the program so far and the influence weather-ready nation ambassadors, like AccuWeather, can make on keeping people safe and informed.

By being a weather-ready ambassador, AccuWeather is committed to working with the NWS as an action-oriented company, building a steadfast nation equipped to face severe weather.

Uccellini said the cooperative work from the entire weather enterprise will make communities "ready, responsive and resilient."

"It's not just making a forecast or producing warnings, it's how people respond to the forecasts and warnings that brings the resiliency [of communities] in," Uccellini said.

A destroyed helicopter lies on its side in the parking lot of the Joplin Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., Sunday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city, damaging the hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Accentuating the necessity of having a thorough, well-executed plan, Uccellini added that whether it be individuals, businesses or organizations, it is imperative to have a strategy in place ahead of threatening weather to ensure maximum safety.

By building an informed and equipped nation, enhancing forecast methods and working with the weather enterprise, billions of dollars and cherished lives have the chance to be saved.


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