Fort McCoy News August 09, 2013

McCoy receives NWS StormReady certification

Fort McCoy was recognized as a StormReady Community by the National Weather Service (NWS) during a July 18 ceremony at the installation.

Todd Shea, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service office at La Crosse, Wis., visited Fort McCoy to formalize the recognition. StormReady is a nationwide program to help communities, universities and military installations better protect their citizens, Soldiers, work force, students and Families during severe-weather incidents.

Photo for NWS article
Todd Shea (right), National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist for La Crosse, presents a StormReady certification certificate and plaque to Lewis Evans (left), representing the
Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, and
Al Blencoe, representing the Directorate of Emergency Services.

Photo by Rob Schuette

"The StormReady program sets guidelines for items like communication, reception of NWS information, monitoring of local weather, warning dissemination, community preparedness, formal hazardous weather operations plans, and routine work with the local NWS office," Shea said. "Fort McCoy has met or exceeded all of these requirements and continues to expand overall weather monitoring and preparedness."

The Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) and the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) are the organizations most involved with storm preparedness at Fort McCoy. The installation's preparedness includes emergency response plans, communitywide mass-notification systems, trained weather spotters and operational NWS weather radios in the DES Dispatch Center and the Installation Emergency Operation Center.

Residents in the South Post Military Family Housing Area also have been issued NWS weather radios.

In receiving the recognition, Fort McCoy met the U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) goal to ensure every garrison is prepared for severe weather. McCoy became the 12th IMCOM garrison to be certified. The installation's certification is valid through 2016, at which time the installation can elect to renew its certification for three more years, Shea said.

Fort McCoy and the surrounding areas have not been immune from the severe weather that affects the state and nation.

Shea said McCoy experienced significant vegetation damage from straight-line winds in 1998. Sparta and La Crosse also experienced storm-related damage from tornadoes that passed through the area in May 2011.

Installation personnel have done an excellent job of monitoring hazardous weather conditions and giving members of the work force notice via e-mail of any weather-related threats, etc., he said.

Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott said the recognition was another example of members of the Fort McCoy work force not just settling for meeting standards, but exceeding the standards and showing excellence to do everything possible to ensure installation personnel are protected from the effects of severe weather.

For more information on the StormReady program, visit the website www.stormready.noaa.gov.