Dawson County is once again being recognized as a National Weather Service StormReady community.
A nationwide preparedness program that uses a grassroots initiative to help communities develop plans to handle severe weather, StormReady provides emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines designed to improve local hazardous weather operations.
Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford said he is proud the county has received the designation for four consecutive three-year cycles.
"It's a free program, and while it doesn't make any community storm proof, it does help us in our preparedness efforts to make sure the community does take those proactive measures we can take," he said. "Personal preparedness, prevention and planning, things of that nature help the community prepare for weather-related emergencies, because we certainly know they do contribute to quite a bit of emergencies across America each year."
According to the NWS, there are 100,000 thunderstorms, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods or flash floods, 1,000 tornadoes and two land-falling deadly hurricanes each year nationwide.
"Anything we can do to prepare for those, I think is a benefit to us," Swafford said.
To become officially StormReady, communities must establish a 24-hour warning and emergency operations center, have more than one way to receive weather warnings and abilities to alert the public, and create a system that monitors weather conditions locally.
Communities must also promote the importance of public readiness and develop a hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercise.