NOAA to build 'weather-ready' nation

While residents of the Washington D.C. area were trying to avoid flooded streets and pump out inundated basements as the remnants of tropical storm Lee dropped more than 15 inches of rain on some parts of the region, the rest of the nation has been suffering weather disasters too.

In fact, after a record number of weather disasters so far in 2011, federal authorities have launched a campaign to build a “weather-ready” nation with new technology and applications, support services and partnerships.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials said the goal is to enhance efforts to respond and adapt to extreme weather events.

“Severe weather represents a very real threat to public safety that requires additional robust action,” Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, said in a statement. “The increasing impacts of natural disasters, as seen this year, are a stark reminder of the lives and livelihoods at risk.”


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The features of NOAA’s Weather Ready Campaign include:

  • Improved precision for weather and water forecasts and effective communication of risk to local authorities.
  • Improved support services such as availability of mobile-ready emergency response specialist teams.
  • Innovative science and technological solutions, including Dual Pole radar technology, Integrated Water Resources Science and Services, and the Joint Polar Satellite System.
  • Community partnerships for enhanced safety, economic protection and effective management of environmental resources.
NOAA announced the program in August as a response to the nine separate disasters experienced so far in 2011, each with a loss of $1 billion or more, which tied the 2008 record.

However, those figures did not include damages from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Total losses for all disasters this year amount to more than $35 billion, the service said .



About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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