ITD remains nation's only transportation agency to earn StormReady status - District 6 most recent with designation
Treacherous winter driving has already arrived in eastern Idaho, and Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) maintenance crews are constantly preparing for the next major snow event. This forward thinking saves lives and property, and helped eastern Idaho crews earn the coveted National Weather Service (NWS) StormReady designation Jan. 7.
ITD is the only state transportation agency in the country to earn the StormReady designation, which is usually reserved for towns and other municipalities. ITD's District 4 (south-central Idaho), District 5 (southeastern), and District 6 (eastern) all have earned the designation.
To meet StormReady requirements, the district demonstrated emergency preparedness, including communication, equipment, facilities and personnel. The recognition also considered such factors as redundant methods of weather monitoring, trained storm spotters and communication with NWS, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
"StormReady is recognition of our preparedness and ability to provide services to the traveling public," said ITD District 6 Maintenance Operations Manager Ken Hahn. "This is about expanding and strengthening partnerships to enhance safety for motorists."
"District 6 has a strong partnership with our local NOAA office, thanks to the efforts of Ken Hahn of ITD and Vern Preston of NOAA," said District 6 Engineer Kimbol Allen. "Maintenance employees participate in weekly weather briefings from NOAA to plan storm response, which includes salt-brine pretreatment of travel lanes, plowing and possible road closures."
ITD benefits from customized weather modeling and forecasts, along with 24/7 phone access to a meteorologist, Allen added. "NOAA benefits from access to our weather stations, which extend NOAA’s data-collection abilities."
According to the NOAA website, "being part of a Weather-Ready Nation is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events. StormReady helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property--before, during and after the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs."
For more information about the National Weather Service StormReady program, go to www.stormready.noaa.gov.