Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sequoyah County Named StormReady Community

District 1 County Commissioner Ray Watts, from left, District 3 County Commissioner Jim Rogers, Meteorologist Ed Calianese with the National Weather Service Tulsa office, Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director Steve Rutherford and District 2 County Commissioner Steve Carter pose with the StormReady signs after Sequoyah County was designated a StormReady Community by the National Weather Service.

Sequoyah County has been recognized by the National Weather Service in Tulsa as a StormReady Community.

Ed Calianese with the National Weather Service in Tulsa made the presentation during Monday’s meeting of the Sequoyah County Commissioners. StormReady is a voluntary program developed by the NWS in partnership with the emergency management community to help emergency managers strengthen their local hazardous weather operations.

A StormReady community must have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings and alert the public to the threat. They must have established a 24-hour warning point and EOC from which emergency response efforts can be coordinated. Communities must also promote the importance of public readiness through education and training and have a formal hazardous weather operations plan that is utilized in disasters.

Calianese said no community is storm proof, but StormReady is designed to help communities save lives and it has proven effect across the country.

“Communities have fewer fatalities and lower property damage if they plan for disasters that potentially threaten them before the disaster occurs,” said Calianese, warning coordination meterorologist of the Tulsa NWS office.

According to NWS statistics, at least 47 tornadoes have occurred in Sequoyah County since 1950. Three of those reached the violent category, including an EF-4 that struck Gans in January of 1957, killing 10 people; and an EF-4 that struck Roland in May 1960, killing five people. Tornadoes have killed 17 people in Sequoyah County since 1950 and have resulted in more than $5 million in property damage.

Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director Steve Rutherford and other emergency personnel and law enforcement have done an excellent job in preparing the county resulting in the StormReady designation.

“We realize that severe weather is one of the biggest threats to our community, so we work to constantly improve our ability to respond to these threats,” Rutherford said.

Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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