Monday May 8, 2017 – The National Weather Service officially presented Erie County with a designation as a StormReady community.
The StormReady designation indicates that Erie County’s Department of Public Safety met the National Weather Service’s criteria including forming a system to monitor local weather, increase public readiness, enhancing planning for severe weather, and serve as a 24 hour warning point and emergency operations center.
“We didn’t really change anything, we just enhanced what we already had in place. We increased our details on our hazardous weather plan and verified the processes we already had,” says John Kelly, an Erie County Emergency Management Specialist.
“Erie County is one of the most weather active counties we have out of the Cleveland area between the snow, storms, wind and the lake that we have here. I think it was very important for the county to go through this process, review their plans, and be as prepared as possible,” explains Gary Garnet the Meteorologist in Charge at the NOAA National Weather Service in Cleveland.
Erie County also announced its classification as an altering authority through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), a next generation emergency notification system. Erie is now among 22 other counties to be IPAWS capable. Now local officials can send out alerts using one system through various mediums (tv, radio, cell phones) and target specific areas if necessary.
“Instead of getting into these systems and typing the same message three or four times – it might take us three to four minutes to do that. Now we are saving time, and when you are trying to warn someone about a tornado or a hazard five minutes is a great amount of time,” says Dale Robinson with Erie County Emergency Management.