Sulphur Springs named a ‘storm-ready’ community
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Sulphur Springs was recognized as a StormReady community Thursday by Gary R. Woodall (center) with the National Weather Service. On hand for the presentation  were: Bill Bradford, KSST; Dawn Sheffield, Hopkins County Community Action Network; Jo Marie Neal, Hopkins County Salvation Army; Lt. Rex Morgan, city emergency management coordinator; Sherry Garrard, Sulphur Springs Independent School District emergency operations coordinator; Assistant Police Chief Robert Stidham; and Volunteers on Patrol instructors Dawn Morgan and Craig Morgan, and member Bob Birney.
Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Feb. 2, 2007 - Sulphur Springs Thursday received distinction as a recognized StormReady community, a designation presented by the North Texas StormReady Advisory Board for the city's level of preparedness for severe weather situations.

Gary Woodall, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, presented the honor to Lt. Rex Morgan, emergency management coordinator for the city, and various city emergency coordinators including representatives from Northeast Texas Region 211 Texas, CanHelp/Hopkins County Community Action Network, Sulphur Springs Police Department and its Volunteers on Patrol program, and Hopkins County Salvation Army.

In order to be named a StormReady community, Morgan had to submit an application to the advisory board detailing how it meets all six criteria for level of preparedness for severe weather situations. The city completed a sever weather operations plan, local outreach activities, devised means to receive and relay severe weather information, a method of monitoring local conditions, and keeping administrative records and documentation of all of those things, Woodall said.

In addition to two signs, bragging status, and use of the StormReady logo on letterhead and printed documents, the designation also improves community ratings on the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating system by 25 points, which could in turn lower flood insurance rates, Woodall explained.

"The recognition suggests that senior city leaders and emergency management and program management have done all they can do to prepare this community as best they can for severe weather situations and threats," Woodall said. "Understand, however, that storm-ready does not mean storm-proof."

Morgan said Sulphur Springs' status as a StormReady community was made possible with the collaborative effort of a number of coordinators and the community, from emergency management officials at the city and schools to the press and media members who help advise the community of developing weather situations and what to do, to the volunteers and community members who pull together during and after such events.

Woodall said that StormReady maintains the National Weather Service's goal to prepare people and community for the effects of extreme weather-related events. The program is also designed to "help establish a commitment to creating an infrastructure and systems that will save lives and protect property."

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