Mesa County received a big honor from the National Weather Service on Monday. The county has now been certified Storm Ready by the National Weather Service.
The Storm Ready program was founded in 1999 to help communities prepare for natural disasters, specifically weather.
For a county to qualify, it must have a 24-hour emergency operations center, conduct community preparedness programs and also have ways to receive and distribute National Weather Service warnings and alerts.
Having a formal emergency management plan that addresses severe weather is also a must. Mesa County now meets all of these requirements and according to Jim Pringle, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Grand Junction NWS office, one of the biggest accomplishments for the county was the introduction of weather radios in important places.
"NOAA weather radio receivers were distributed within the last year to all public facilities with high public volume traffic. So, all of the schools including the private schools in Mesa County now should have a NOAA weather radio receiver that's activated whenever there's any type of life-threatening warning that's issued," Pringle said.
Certification can result in better awareness for citizens as well as federal flood insurance benefits.
Mesa County joins Montrose, Delta and San Juan Counties on the Western Slope as certified Storm Ready Counties. Lake City in Hinsdale County is a Storm Ready Community and even KJCT News 8 is a certified Storm Ready Supporter.