Weathering the Storm
The National Weather Service has recognized USF as a StormReady® Community.
Hollie Chancey, Physical Plant; Brian Ippolito, Physical Plant; University Police Major JD Withrow; Paul Latham, Emergency Manager; University Police Chief Tom Longo; Sandy Lovins, Vice President Administrative Services; Christopher Akin, USF Information Technology; Ernie Jillson, Meteorologist, National Weather Service; Cindy LeRoy, Environmental Health & Safety. Photo: Aimee Blodgett | USF News
Special to USF News
TAMPA, Fla. (June 5, 2012) – National Weather Service officials have recognized the University of South Florida in Tampa as a StormReady® community in recognition of the university’s emergency preparedness program.
As one of nine higher education institutions in Florida to achieve StormReady status, USF’s Tampa campus has a daily population of more than 40,000 students and more than 15,000 faculty and staff. More importantly, it is home to about 5,000 students who live in campus residence halls.
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; and, develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
“StormReady encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness in partnership with their local National Weather Service office," said Brian LaMarre, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Ruskin.
LaMarre presented university officials with a recognition letter and special StormReady signs during a special ceremony on Monday, June 4.
“Living in Florida requires you to be smart about storm safety, and at USF student safety is our number one priority,” said USF President Judy Genshaft. “The National Weather Service’s StormReady program is critical to us as a university in preparing to protect our campus community, but it has an extended value in providing our students, faculty and staff with the knowledge and skills they need to know to keep themselves safe.”
The nationwide 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 the local National Weather Service forecast office and state and local emergency managers. The program began in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. Today, there are nearly 1,900 StormReady communities.
“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,” said Dan Noah, warning coordination meteorologist for the forecast office.
The StormReady program is part of the National Weather Service's working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association. The StormReady recognition expires in three years, after which the center will go through a renewal process.
The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. It operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at weather.gov and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/US.National.Weather.Service.gov.