National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Pictured (left to right): Jackson County Commissioner Mitch Morrison, Commission President Dick Waybright, Emergency Management Director Walter Smittle III, Commissioner Mike Randolph and NWS Charleston, WV Meteorologist-in-Charge Jamie Bielinski


Jackson County was designated as the 14th StormReady® County in West Virginia during a ceremony at the Jackson County Commission regular meeting in Ripley on Wednesday January 15, 2020.

The StormReady® program is designed to help protect citizens from the dangers of all types of severe weather by arming America's communities with the communication and safety skills need to save lives and property before, during and after a hazardous weather event.  In order to qualify as StormReady a county 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
  • Monitor weather conditions locally
  • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars and news releases
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

ImageOfficials from the National Weather Service in Charleston, WV worked closely with Jackson County Emergency Management Director Walter Smittle (pictured at left addressing the Jackson Co Commissioners) during the certification process.  "Jackson County was 95% StormReady before we even began the process thanks to the hard work and dedication of Mr. Smittle with the support of the Jackson County Commission," said NWS Charleston, WV Warning Coordination Meteorologist Tony Edwards.  "The addition of over 50 new weather spotters in the county as part of the certification process will be a big benefit for both the county and the National Weather Service during future severe weather events," Tony continued.  Weather spotters are the eyes and ears of the National Weather Service in their community, relaying reports of hazardous weather and learning weather safety tips during the training process.

For more information about StormReady®, and other NOAA National Weather Service programs, please visit the NOAA National Weather Service website at, the StormReady® website at, or locally, the Charleston, WV National Weather Service website at

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