initiative is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.
In People of Weather–Ready Nation, we sit down with some of the people responsible for building a WeatherReady Nation. We recently talked to Mark Ray, Director of Public Works/City Engineer for the City of Crystal, MN.
1. What does a Weather–Ready Nation mean to you?
Every day public works professionals work to make normal happen in the communities they serve. Weather and climate impacts nearly every aspect of public works operations. The WRN program is a coordinated effort, led by professionals at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to spread relevant and useful information to help prepare the United States to respond to the impacts of climate change. The natural partnership between public works professionals and the WRN program cannot be understated. From building, operating, and maintaining critical infrastructure to educating residents to be resilient and prepared; we are all in this together.
2. How are you helping to build a Weather–Ready Nation?
At the local level I help facilitate staff from NWS-Chanhassen presenting in front of public works professionals at the City level, American Public Works Association (APWA)-Minnesota Chapter conferences, and the public works institute. I also spread the word about the Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador program when I give presentations. I use WRN social media/infographic products on the City’s social media accounts to help educate followers on preparedness topics. At the national level, I work closely with NWS staff across the country to have NWS representation at APWA conferences and in publications. We also have APWA representation at American Meteorological Society conferences.
3. What is the biggest challenge you see in making the nation ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme events?
We live in an age where people are being bombarded with mass quantities of information shared rapidly through a variety of mediums. The challenge with making the nation ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme weather events is getting the information to people in a way they will best receive it and inspiring them to actually take actions to prepare. The Weather Ready Nation effort is well structured to take on this challenge. With NOAA providing information and resources while leveraging Ambassador Program partnerships to engage people and collectively work together to inspire preparedness actions to support a more weather-ready Nation.