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City receives Storm Ready designation, sign from NWS

By Staff | Jul 22, 2009

On Tuesday, the City of Sanibel was officially recognized as a Storm Ready community by the National Weather Service.

During the City Council’s regular meeting, Daniel Noah, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in Ruskin, presented the city with its Storm Ready sign, which will be in effect through 2012.

“I think it’s a big honor,” said Maj. Michael Murray of the Sanibel Police Department, who helped coordinate the city’s hurricane preparation seminars as well as Skywarn Storm Spotter training. “It just goes to show you how much work goes into the preparation and planning we do in this city.”

Sanibel is just the eighth community in the State of Florida to receive this designation, joining Captiva (which became Storm Ready in 2007), Deltona, Indian Harbour Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Oldsmar, Orlando and Treasure Island.

As part of the city’s storm readiness, Sanibel has trained 34 Skywarn Storm Spotters as well as 21 HAM radio operators.

“We’ve always been a well prepared community. Our first mayor, Porter Goss, made that a priority for Sanibel,” said City Manager Judie Zimomra. “This proves that we’re not content to rest on our laurels. We have received many plaques for our hurricane preparations and responses. This is just the next step for us.”

Storm Ready is a program sponsored by the National Weather Service to recognize cities, counties and communities that enhance their hazardous weather action plan and demonstrate “readiness” before, during, and after severe weather events.

“The National Weather Service recognizes the efforts of communities which go above and beyond what other cities may do,” said Noah, who noted that he was impressed that Sanibel had recently installed a Lightning Prediction System across the island. “They didn’t stop at what was expected from them on our application. Sanibel has done so much more.”

To be designated as Storm Ready, the city was required to meet the following criteria:

Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center

Have redundant communications systems 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 City of Sanibel Police Department continues to evaluate and modify our weather and emergency action plan in respect to training, weather monitoring, warning reception, and local warning dissemination. These factors, among others, define a Storm Ready community in the National Weather Service program.

“Obviously after Hurricane Charley, more and more people have become interested in preparing and planning for hurricanes,” added Murray. “The people in this community and the businesses in this community have really pulled together and shown a great effort in learning everything they can about it. I think that we’re 10 times more prepared now than we were then.”

As of July 17, there were 1,482 sites located in 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam designated as Storm Ready. In the State of Florida, there are 82 Storm Ready designations, including all 67 counties, eight communities, four universities and two government/military sites.

For additional information, visit www.stormready.noaa.gov/.