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Wyoming County Now Certified StormReady

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recognized Wyoming County as "StormReady" and made it official in a ceremony Tuesday at the courthouse in Tunkhannock. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

On hand for the presentation was Dave Nicosia from the National Weather Service office in Binghamton, NY. That office's jurisdiction includes Wyoming County and surrounding Northern Tier areas.

The "Storm Ready" initiative is a national community preparedness program. It takes a grassroots approach to help municipalities and other community groups develop plans to handle local severe weather and flood threats. Wyoming County has a history of severe weather, including the flood of 1999, the blizzard of 1993 and the Lake Carey Tornado in 2000.

The initiative provides communities with advice from their local NWS office. StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities; there are now more than 750 StormReady communities in 47 states.

"We have a great partnership with the Binghamton NWS," noted Wyoming County's EMA Director Gene Dziak on Tuesday. "It's a partnership between NOAA and the local communities? emergency response teams including EMA, the Red Cross and more," Dziak explained. "It helps us save lives."

To be recognized as StormReady, a county must establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center, have several ways to receive warnings and forecasts and several ways to alert the public. A StormReady community must also monitor local weather conditions, promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars and develop a formal hazardous weather plan. This last initiative includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

Wyoming County is one of only two counties in Pennsylvania served by the Binghamton NWS, which has been declared StormReady. The other is Bradford County.

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