National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Heather Wade, Coastal Planning Specialist

NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.

The People of Weather-Ready Nation is an interview series that sits down with some of the people responsible for building a Weather-Ready Nation. We recently talked to Heather B. Wade, Coastal Planning Specialist with Texas Sea Grant College Program and Program Manager at the Texas Coastal Planning Program.

1. What does a Weather-Ready Nation mean to you?

A Weather-Ready Nation to me means a country that is prepared for all hazards at all levels of government. This means that our nation can’t be ready if our states are not ready, our states can’t be ready, if our counties are unprepared, and those counties can’t be ready if local communities and neighborhood organizations are not. We have to work from the bottom up to be a truly weather-ready nation.

2. How are you helping to build a Weather-Ready Nation?

My work focuses on helping communities become better equipped to prepare and plan for hazards. I do this by providing technical assistance, education, and outreach to communities. With a toolkit that includes the Coastal Resilience Index, weTable and Community Health and Resources Management (CHARM) model, I lead community leaders through workshops that help them determine their readiness and plan for future needs with respect to coastal hazards, green infrastructure, water quality impairment and other issues related to sustainable development.

3. What is the biggest challenge you see in making the nation ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme events?

I think the biggest challenge is getting communities and the public to take being ready seriously before a storm hits. It seems most communities do not feel the need to prepare and plan ahead until after the super storm comes and does its damage.  


As Texas Sea Grant’s Coastal Planning Specialist, Heather Wade helps communities on the Texas coast plan for the future. She is active in the Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice, is a partner of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, and also is working with faculty at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Earth Science and Geography and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning with an emphasis on Land Use and Environmental Planning, both from Texas A&M University. She also received a graduate certificate in Environmental Hazards Management. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine Systems Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with an emphasis on Coastal Planning and Policy.