Weather-Ready Nation: Tampa Bay chosen to take part in new NOAA weather disaster program

9:20 AM, May 2, 2012   |    comments
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Waves from the Gulf of Mexico pass road signs in Cedar Key, Fla., as the outer bands of wind and rain from Hurricane Dennis batter the island community July 10, 2005.



St. Petersburg, Florida - There are few places in the country as unique as Tampa Bay.

Its diverse ecosystem and active cargo port make it sensitive to weather and disasters.  It is Florida's largest port and biggest estuary which is why our market was one of six locations in the nation chosen to test NOAA's "Weather-Ready Nation" project. 

The Weather-Ready Nation's goal is to mitigate disasters by incorporating better information to make better decisions. Ninety-eight percent of all presidential-declared disasters are weather related and the Weather Ready Nation program wants to drop that number.

In 2011, over 1,000 people died in weather disasters. Weather Ready Nation is designed as a new safeguard if another hurricane, oil spill, or chemical disaster happens in our backyard.

It involves 10 News, local emergency management, first responders, and the National Weather Service. They are all tied together using the latest science tools to make sure there is a good handle on where the impacts will be and how to get people out of harms way.

Better marine route forecasts helps commerce. More than four billion gallons of oil, fertilizer and other hazardous materials pass through the mouth of Tampa Bay each year.

More sensors will be placed around the bay to warn of dense fog and smoke.  One has just been installed on Egmont Key to alert forecasters of low visibility.

Recreational interests will have more information to plan including better alerts to when red tide is about to move onto beaches.

For more information, visit the Weather-Ready Nation website.

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