KANSAS CITY - Only 27 of 114 counties in Missouri have earned the National Weather Service’s StormReady designation. The Weather Service defines a StormReady community as being “better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.”
“No community can be made storm proof,” Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said, “but we have an obligation to make ours as storm-ready as possible.” He accepted the StormReady declaration from the Weather Service during a news conference this morning at the Independence/Eastern Jackson County Emergency Operations Center.
In a letter designating Jackson County StormReady, the National Weather Service cited the county’s “program of severe weather readiness and preparation that is a model for others to follow.”
StormReady communities have redundant systems for warning their citizens of approaching severe weather and plans in place to respond after a storm strikes. The Jackson County Emergency Preparedness Department has also emphasized public education, frequently hosting storm spotter training classes, including one this Tuesday night:
Storm Spotter Training • Open to the public FREE • No pre-registration requiredTuesday, March 3 • 7:00 p.m.Crown Pointe Church • 5950 NE Lakewood Way • Lee’s Summit, MO 64064
“StormReady Designation is something to be proud of,” said Julie Adolphson, meteorologist-in-charge at the Weather Service Kansas City/Pleasant Hill Office. “It means your Emergency Preparedness people are working in partnership with local law enforcement, firefighters, hospitals, schools, making sure all are ready for the inevitable. We get hit by severe weather every year. Jackson County has also done an outstanding job assuring its citizens are aware of the danger, and there are multiple systems in place to get storm warnings out.”
Today marked the beginning of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Missouri, which will include a statewide tornado drill at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
County Executive Sanders stressed severe weather can strike anytime anywhere. Citizens can receive text and/or email alerts about severe weather through the Jackson County’s emergency system by signing up at jacksongov.org/alerts.
“We don’t want people being complacent,” he said. “Any day of the year can bring severe weather to our area. Remember eastern Missouri getting hit by tornadoes on New Year’s Eve 2010?”
Six of the deadliest tornadoes in United States history struck in Missouri. According to the National Weather Service, 31 tornadoes were reported in Jackson County between 1950 and 2014. Only 17 other Missouri counties were hit by more tornadoes during that timespan.