Since 2005, the communities of Spirit Lake, Okoboji, Arnolds Park, Milford, Wahpeton, Terril as well as the county itself have been designated as StormReady by the National Weather Service. In September of 2006 the City of Lake Park was added following the installation of outdoor warning sirens in that community. In 2013, the cities of West Okoboji and Superior were designated StormReady, thus making Dickinson County the only county in Iowa to have each city and the county designated as such. Certifications are good for a period of three years then must be renewed.
Why be StormReady?
Americans live in the most severe weather-prone country on Earth. Each year, Americans cope with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and an average of 6 deadly hurricanes. And this on top of winter storms, intense summer heat, high winds and other deadly weather impacts.
Some 90% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in damage. StormReady, a program started in 1999 in Tulsa, OK, helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property - before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs.
StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through better planning, education, and awareness. No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives.
- Established warning point
- Established Emergency Operations Center
- Four methods to receive warning information
- Ability to relay real-time severe weather reports to the weather service
- Two methods to monitor hydrometeorological (rainfall) data
- Two ways to disseminate warnings
- We must also put weather radios in public facilities
- Writing a formal hazardous weather plan
- The Emergency Management Coordinator must visit the NWS Office at least once every two years
- A Weather Service official must visit the County every year
- Conduct two weather safety talks
- Annual training of spotters
StormReady in Dickinson County
Dickinson County Emergency Management along with the National Weather Service also added one requirement for Dickinson County: Cities must have outdoor warning sirens to be considered StormReady. This decision was made simply because Dickinson County has a large tourist population during the summer months. Often times, people are taking part in outside activities and not near a radio or TV. These sirens will warn the public when a tornado or potentially tornadic storm is approaching.
Being StormReady involves much more than just filling out an application and hanging up a road sign. It starts with proper planning for disasters before they occur. During a severe weather event, we rely heavily on trained storm spotters who volunteer their time to watch for hail, high winds and even tornadoes. We also rely on our local media to help warn the public of approaching storms and broadcast watches, warnings and advisories.
Dickinson County was in the national StormReady spotlight following the July 17, 2010 severe wind storm that struck the county. Read more about it here.
For More Information
For more information on the StormReady program, visit the StormReady website at www.weather.gov/stormready.