Hyde County recognized as StormReady

Published 5:14 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2016



SWAN QUARTER — Come what may, Hyde County is prepared to handle natural disasters, from preparation to restoration.

The National Weather Service has deemed the county as StormReady and TsunamiReady, made official at a Hyde County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night.

To be recognized as such, a county must have a 24-hour warning point and emergency center, have multiple ways to receive NWS warnings and alert the public, monitor weather and flood conditions, have community preparedness events and instate emergency managements plans, according to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The National Weather Service motto, ‘When seconds count, StormReady and TsunamiReady counties are prepared,’ is something we take very seriously here in Hyde County,” said Justin Gibbs, director of the county’s emergency services. “Hyde County is extremely proud to be recognized as a StormReady and TsunamiReady county. This is just another example of our commitment to excellence.”

The county joins more than 2,450 other communities across the United States who have also received the recognition, the release stated.

Becoming a StormReady area, which is especially important along the East Coast, includes handling severe weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes, and knowing how to use equipment to facilitate the process.

John Cole, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Newport, said the state has averaged 28 tornadoes a year over the past two decades, with an average of two fatalities a year, as well.

He said preparing for every type of natural disaster, even the unusual ones, is a way to ensure the public’s safety and save lives.

“Tsunamis are very rare along the U.S. East Coast, but being prepared to move people out of harms way, should one occur, could save countless lives,” Cole said.

The StormReady and TsunamiReady programs were founded in 1999. Beaufort County is working on its certification, as well, and is set to hold a weather-spotting class May 11.