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Johnson County is 'storm ready'

National Weather Service officials have recognized Johnson County, Tennessee as a StormReady® community.
“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 George Mathews, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service Knoxville/Tri-Cities forecast office. Johnson county leadership was presented with a recognition letter and special StormReady® signs during a ceremony completed on Thursday, August 4th at the Johnson County Emergency Management office in Mountain City, Tennessee.
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, Oklahoma, area. Today, there are nearly 1,600 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 Tim Troutman, 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.
Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter said, “I am proud that our county is StormReady and pleased that we continue to have a great and close working relationship with the National Weather Service in Morristown. Being designated as StormReady has completed an important project that our county has been working on that will undoubtedly lead to our residents and visitors to Johnson County being better protected in the event that severe weather occurs.”
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. A StormReady® designation is for three years, and the county will complete the renewal process during the time period before expiration of the designation.