Weather-Ready or Not, Here We Come

August 19, 2011 · 0 comments

The year so far has been expensive when it comes to disasters. Make that record-breaking expensive. According to NOAA, with nine separate big-money disasters, the losses have already reached $35 billion. In response, the NWS—in partnership with other government agencies, researchers, and the private sector—is building a plan to make the country “Weather-ready.”  Earlier this week, officials from various agencies participated in a group discussion with the goal of understanding the threats extreme weather poses today and what can be done about it. Specifically, they want people nationwide to develop plans they can implement quickly to protect themselves when severe weather strikes.

“Building a Weather-ready nation is everyone’s responsibility,” comments Eddie Hicks, U.S. Council of International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM USA) president. “It starts with the NWS and emergency managers, like IAEM USA, but it ends with action by individuals and businesses to reduce their risks. The more prepared communities are for destructive weather, the less of a human and economic toll we’ll experience in the future, and that’s a great thing for the country.”

The discussion resulted in a list of necessities to make a Weather-ready nation. They include improved precision of weather and water forecasts and effective communication of risk to local authorities; improved weather decision support services with new initiatives such as the development of mobile-ready emergency response specialist teams; strengthening joint partnerships to enhance community preparedness; and working with weather enterprise partners and the emergency management community to enhance safety and economic output and effectively manage environmental resources.

John Malay, president of the AMS, took part in the announcement and emphasized that the partnership among the three weather sectors—all represented in the AMS membership—is essential in achieving the vision. “We share the mission of informing and protecting our citizens, which is what this enterprise and initiative are all about,” he comments. “Given the resources to grow our scientific understanding of our complex environment through observations and research and to apply this knowledge in serving society, we can do amazing things together.”

You can download a pdf copy of the NWS Strategic Plan for this initiative from the Weather-ready nation website.