“StormReady” is a nationwide program that helps communities better protect their citizens during severe weather by focusing on improving communications and preparedness. The program is voluntary and encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations. To be certified as StormReady, communities must: establish a 24 hour warning point and emergency operations center; have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings/forecasts and to alert the public; create a system that monitors weather conditions locally; promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and develop a hazardous weather plan which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
On February 10, 2009, at the Board of Supervisors meeting, Amador County was recognized by the National Weather Service as a StormReady community and became the sixth county, out of fifty-eight counties, to receive this designation. Sheriff Martin Ryan detailed some of the county’s activities that support the StormReady program for the County Board of Supervisors.
- The county receives weather alerts through the Sheriff’s Office 24 Hour Communications Center via systems such as the California Law Enforcement Teletype System (CLETS) and the California Alert and Warning System (CALWAS).
- NWS weather radios that are programmed to sound an alarm during severe weather warnings are also present in county buildings, in the Jackson, Ione, Plymouth and Sutter Creek City Halls, and all of the public schools in the county.
- The county has the CodeRED Emergency Alert notification system for homes and businesses and a portable advisory radio system that can transmit messages to the motoring public via 530 AM radio when deployed.
- In October 2008, the NWS conducted Weather Spotter Training for 27 members of the community who now report weather conditions in Amador County to the NWS.
- Additionally, the Office of Emergency Services and the County Public Health Department provides preparedness information to the public through the local media and at community events throughout the year. Both departments conduct disaster preparedness exercises on a regular basis.
The StormReady program is a bit more established on the east coast and in the mid west where severe weather such as thunderstorms can turn into deadly tornados within minutes. It is slowly gaining more
awareness on the west coast mainly due to flooding and the threat of tsunamis. There are several “StormReady” cities and “TsunamiReady” cities and counties in California.
For more information on the StormReady program, please visit the National Weather Service, StormReady website.