National Weather Service Recognizes UTSA as StormReady

 (Oct 8, 2010)National Weather Service officials have recognized the University of Texas at San Antonio as a StormReady University. Home to more than 30,000 students and faculty, UTSA completed the StormReady Certification on July 29, 2010 becomingthe fifth university in Texas to achieve StormReady status. 
 “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 Joe Arellano, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio forecast office. Arellano presented university officials with a recognition certificate and StormReady signs during a special ceremony at The University of Texas at San Antonio on October 6, 2010. 
 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 1,700 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 Paul Yura, warning coordination meteorologist for the forecast office.
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.
 This 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 university will go through a renewal process.