FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. —The National Weather Service (NWS) first designated Forsyth County as a StormReady community in 2007. The designation came after meeting stringent requirements signifying the county was well prepared for severe weather events.
Now, the NWS has once again recertified Forsyth County as a StormReady community, signaling the county has continued to maintain a high level of severe weather preparedness.
"It is a great honor to achieve recertification as a StormReady community from the National Weather Service," said Danny Bowman, fire chief and emergency management agency director. "This recognition is a reflection of the hard work that goes into preparing our county for severe weather situations."
To be recognized as StormReady, a county must meet criteria established jointly between the NWS and state and local emergency management officials, including having a local 24-hour warning point and an Emergency Operations Center, having multiple ways of receiving NWS warnings, being able to monitor local weather/river conditions, and having multiple ways of alerting the public.
The essence of the program is to ensure the entire warning system performs properly when severe weather strikes.
The warning system is comprised of the NWS (which issues the warnings), local emergency management (which ensures the warnings are communicated), and the general public (who respond properly to the warnings). When each part of this system performs well, lives and property can be saved. StormReady recognizes the counties in which the system is most likely to perform well.
"As part of our ongoing commitment to being StormReady, Forsyth County strives to continually enhance our community's severe weather preparedness," Bowman said.
Since the county's original certification as a StormReady community, Forsyth County has taken additional measures to prepare the community for severe weather. In 2011, the Forsyth County Emergency Management Agency began offering weather alert notifications. Forsyth County residents can sign up to receive time-sensitive weather alerts for severe thunderstorm warnings, flash flood warnings and tornado warnings, and can elect to be notified via telephone calls, emails and/or text messages. To sign up for the alerts, visit www.forsythco.com and look for the 'Weather Alerts' icon on the home page.
In 2009, the county activated new outdoor severe weather sirens, designed to alert those who are outdoors that severe weather is in the area. If the county is placed under a tornado warning, the sirens will be activated. In 2012, five additional outdoor severe weather sirens were added, bringing the total number of county sirens to 17.
Forsyth County is one of 74 counties in Georgia to have earned the StormReady designation.