Hamilton College earns ‘StormReady’ designation

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CLINTON — National Weather Service officials have recognized Hamilton College as StormReady — a program that helps community leaders and residents better prepare for all types of hazardous weather.

StormReady colleges have made a strong commitment to implement the infrastructure and systems needed to save lives and protect property when severe weather strikes.

Mark Pellerito, a lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Binghamton, will present Hamilton College officials with a certificate and special StormReady sign during a virtual ceremony, Friday, Feb. 18, at 11 a.m. on meet.google.com/vpp-jskp-fam.

“This is a very important accomplishment for Hamilton College,” said Pellerito. “Oneida County has a long history with a solid four seasons of high-impact weather, from bitter cold and snow — both the lake effect and Nor’easter varieties — to high winds, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods. Even the tornadoes that occasionally touch down in the western Mohawk Valley.”

He said, “Ten have occurred in the last 10 years in Oneida County, including two in 2021. Hamilton College has taken all the necessary steps to be better prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store. These efforts will make the college safer and even save lives in the future.”

Hamilton College director of Campus Safety Francis Coots, said the partnership with the National Weather Service enables Hamilton College to better prepare for weather-related events that could impact students, employees and all members of our community.

“The StormReady program aligns with our goals for keeping our students and faculty — from all over the country and indeed the world — prepared for our weather here in Upstate New York,” Coots said. “This program supplements our existing communication efforts on extreme weather warnings and offers us a partner we can look to for additional information in a time of crisis.”

The nationwide community preparedness program, founded in 1999, is a grassroots approach to preparing for natural hazards. Today, more than 3,000 U.S. locations — communities, counties, commercial sites, government/military sites, universities and colleges — are better prepared for severe weather through the StormReady program.

To be recognized as StormReady, a college must maintain a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; have more than one way to receive National Weather Service warnings and to alert the public; be able to monitor local weather and flood conditions; conduct preparedness programs; and ensure hazardous weather is addressed in formal emergency management plans, which include training SKYWARN weather spotters and holding emergency exercises, according to the announcement of the designation by the college.

The StormReady program is part of the National Weather Service’s working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association.

The StormReady recognition is valid for four years and can be renewed, the announcement added.

The National Weather Service’s Binghamton Office, located in Johnson City, is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for about 2 1⁄2 million people in 17 counties of Central New York and seven counties in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Working with partners, the National Weather Service is building a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of vulnerability to extreme weather.

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