Weather Service honors Orleans for being ‘Storm Ready’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Dale Banker, center, the Orleans County emergency management coordinator, receives a StormReady designation from Judy Levan, Meteorologist in Charge of the Buffalo Branch of the National Weather Service, and Michael J. Fries, Warming Coordination Meteorologist for the NWS in Buffalo. The award was presented during Wednesday’s Orleans County Legislature meeting.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 February 2022 at 9:09 am

ALBION – The National Weather Service has recognized Orleans Couty with a “StormReady” designation for the county’s hazardous weather plan and other protocols to inform the public of dangerous weather conditions.

Judy Levan, Meteorologist in Charge of the Buffalo Branch of the National Weather Service, presented a certificate of recognition to Dale Banker, the county’s emergency management coordinator. She praised Banker and his staff “for the tremendous effort he has exhibited to accomplish the goals set forth in this program.”

To be recognized as a Storm Ready county, a community must meet the following requirements:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
  • Have multiple ways 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 education
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises

Judy Levan, Meteorologist in Charge of the Buffalo Branch of the National Weather Service, tells county legislators the county’s Emergency Management Office has a solid plan in place in case of weather emergencies.

Orleans County not only meets the criteria for the StormReady designation, “but has substantially exceeded them in many categories,” Levan said.

The StormReady program is designed to strengthen the relationship between emergency managers at the county level and the National Weather Service. Levan said the program makes sure all aspects of communication, warning reception and response are as efficient as possible and backups are in place in case one or more systems fail.

Banker said the county and NWS have provided weather radios to the five school districts in the county, as well as two for county officials to make sure weather alerts are received.

Orleans achieved the StormReady designation on Nov. 19 and it’s good for four years until Nov. 19, 2025. The Weather Service encourages the county to renew the recognition.

The county can use the StormReady logo in official letterheads, brochures and other documents.

If the county participates in the National Flood Insurance Program it may now be eligible for 25 additional Flood Insurance Service Organization community rating system points.

“We do not look forward to another natural disaster,” Levan said. “However, if and when another one does occur, you can be confident that officials in the county have improved their communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property.”