Dickinson County Courthouse, Spirit Lake, Iowa

StormReady

Background

Dickinson County started the StormReady process back in 2005, with the county and six cities becoming certified. Now, all 10 cities have been certified after installing outdoor warning sirens. Certification dates are:

  • Dickinson County: 2005

  • Arnolds Park: 2005

  • Lake Park: 2006

  • Milford: 2005

  • Okoboji: 2005

  • Orleans: 2012

  • Spirit Lake: 2005

  • Superior: 2013

  • Terril: 2005

  • Wahpeton: 2005

  • West Okoboji: 2013

Certifications are good for fouryears then must be renewed.

Why be StormReady?

Americans live in the most severe weather-prone country on Earth. Each year, Americans cope with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and an average of 6 deadly hurricanes. And this on top of winter storms, intense summer heat, high winds and other deadly weather impacts.

Some 90% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in damage. StormReady, a program started in 1999 in Tulsa, OK, helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property - before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs.

StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through better planning, education, and awareness. No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives.

Requirements

  • Established warning point
  • Established Emergency Operations Center
  • Four methods to receive warning information
  • Ability to relay real-time severe weather reports to the weather service
  • Two methods to monitor hydrometeorological (rainfall) data
  • Two ways to disseminate warnings
  • We must also put weather radios in public facilities
  • Writing a formal hazardous weather plan
  • The Emergency Management Coordinator must visit the NWS Office at least once every two years
  • A Weather Service official must visit the County every year
  • Conduct two weather safety talks
  • Annual training of spotters

StormReady in Dickinson County

Dickinson County Emergency Management, in collaboration with the National Weather Service, has implemented a new requirement for the county. In order to be considered StormReady, cities in Dickinson County must have outdoor warning sirens. This decision was made due to the high number of tourists that visit the county during the summer months. Since many people engage in outdoor activities and may not have access to a radio or TV, these sirens will serve as a crucial warning system for tornadoes or potentially tornadic storms.

Becoming StormReady entails more than just completing an application and putting up a road sign. It involves thorough disaster planning before any emergencies occur. During severe weather events, we heavily rely on dedicated storm spotters who volunteer their time to monitor for hail, strong winds, and even tornadoes. Additionally, our local media plays a vital role in alerting the public about approaching storms and broadcasting watches, warnings, and advisories.

Dickinson County was in the national StormReady spotlight following the July 17, 2010 severe wind storm that struck the county. Read more about it here.

For More Information

For more information on the StormReady program, visit the StormReady website at www.weather.gov/stormready.