Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 20, 2014

Weather service: Mercer is Storm Ready

PRINCETON — Widespread distribution of weather alert radios and plans in place to warn the public about snowstorms, flash floods and other severe weather events means Mercer County is now, by National Weather Service standards, Storm Ready.

Emergency Services Director Tim Farley accepted the Storm Ready designation Thursday at the Mercer County Courthouse.

“What Storm Ready means is that Mercer County has met the guidelines set by the National Weather Service to ensure they are receiving and disseminating our lifesaving warnings through multiple means,” said Phil Hysell, a warning coordinator meteorologist with the weather service.

Another component to Storm Ready is public education, awareness and planning, Hysell said. The county has plans in place to use local media such as the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Facebook and Twitter to quickly spread the word about upcoming storms, Farley said.

Farley has taken another measure to quickly alert the public, Hysell said.

“Another important detail is the placement of weather radios in all the government buildings and all the public schools, so when there are alerts about storms, tornados, blizzard warnings are immediately received at those locations that have those weather radios,” Hysell said. “Anybody can purchase a weather radio at an electronic store, a retailer or online. They cost about as much as a new pair of shoes, and really should be as common as a smoke detector in people’s homes.”

People often plug in their cell phones for the night and stop looking at other media after they go to bed, but a weather radio can be set to wake its owners if the National Weather Service issues news such as a flash flood warning or blizzard warning, Hysell said.

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