Iroquois County has been deemed a “StormReady” county by the National Weather Service (NWS), according to Scott Anderson, Iroquois County’s Emergency Management Agency Coordinator. NWS officials came to the county’s Emergency Operations Center on Friday, February 2nd, to complete the process of the “StormReady” designation. “Out of the 102 counties in the State of Illinois, only 38 had previously received this designation,” Anderson mentioned, “with Iroquois County completing this process, there are now 39 counties. Like other areas in the State, we have had our fair share of weather events in recent years. From snowstorms to rains and flooding to damaging high winds, receiving this designation sends a message that our team, as well as our communities, are prepared for what comes our way,” said Anderson. According to the NWS, some 98 percent of all federally declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. The StormReady program helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property--before, during and after the event. To be officially StormReady, a community must: • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center • Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public • Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises. “Being storm ready starts with preparedness, which means we focus on our training and our planning to make sure we can tackle adverse weather events, even though you can’t predict the future,” said Anderson. “It takes all of us in the community working together to truly be StormReady.” An official presentation of the StormReady designation will take place at a press conference, to be held at the Iroquois County Courthouse, during the first week in March- which is Severe Storm Preparedness Week. The actual date and time have yet to be finalized and will be announced in a separate press release.