National Weather Service (NWS) officials have recognized Natchitoches Parish in Louisiana as a StormReady® Parish. Natchitoches Parish is home to more than thirty-nine thousand residents and is located in Central Louisiana. Natchitoches Parish becomes the 1st parish in Central Louisiana’s Region 6 to be recognized as StormReady®.
“Central Louisiana experiences very active severe weather episodes throughout the year,” said Mario Valverde, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Shreveport, Louisiana. He added that “Due to our geographic location, potentially deadly weather could impact Natchitoches Parish on any given day. In order to prepare for severe weather and keep its citizens safe, parish officials have partnered with the NWS to meet the criteria required by the StormReady program.” Valverde will present parish officials with a recognition letter and special StormReady signs during a ceremony to be held on Friday, July 15th, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse.
The nationwide StormReady community 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 their local NWS forecast office and state and local emergency managers. StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through better planning, education, and awareness. No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives.
To be recognized as StormReady, a community or university 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; and develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
“Today, there are more than 2,400 StormReady communities,” said Bill Parker, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the NWS Office. “Natchitoches Parish joins the ranks of just over 1100 Counties/Parishes that have achieved StormReady status, and one of only twenty (20) throughout the state of Louisiana.” Parker added that, “The program is designed to help StormReady communities improve communication and safety skills needed to save lives — before, during, and after a severe weather event.” The StormReady recognition will expire in three years, after which the county will go through a renewal process.
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StormReady® is a registered trademark used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.