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NOAA National Weather Service Recognizes University of Memphis, Tennessee StormReady University News
For release: October 14, 2010

For press information, contact Richard Okulski, 901-544-0405

NOAA National Weather Service officials have recognized the University of Memphis as a StormReady® university.

“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 Jim Belles, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Memphis. Belles presented University officials with a recognition letter and special StormReady® signs during a ceremony at the University Administration Building on October 12, 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 more than 1,675 StormReady communities.


Representing the U of M and the NWS at the ceremony were, front row from left, David Zettergren, U of M vice president for Business and Finance, Derek Myers, assistant chief of police for the University, and Richard Okulski, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS; back row, from left, Bruce Harber, U of M chief of police; Jim Belles, NWS meteorologist manager; Dr. Ralph Faudree, U of M provost; Dr. Shirley Raines, U of M president, and Shelby Slater, U of M Emergency Preparedness coordinator.
(UofM photo by Rhonda Cosentino)

“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 Richard Okulski, warning coordination meteorologist for the Memphis 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.

The TsunamiReadyTM and StormReady® programs are part of NOAA National Weather Service's working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, and the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program. The TsunamiReadyTM and StormReady® recognitions expire in three years, after which the county will go through a renewal process.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit

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StormReady®is a registered trademark used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
TsunamiReadyTM is a trademark used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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