The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Highways District 10 has been accepted as a partner in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather-Ready Ambassador initiative. The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative is an effort by NOAA’s National Weather Service to formally recognize NOAA partners who are improving the nation’s readiness against extreme weather, water and climate events. District 10 is the first of Kentucky’s 12 highway districts to become a WRN Ambassador.
“Our district works closely with the National Weather Service’s Jackson office in responding to weather events that affect travel and highway safety,” said Corbett Caudill, chief district engineer. “We rely on information from them when we prepare for snow and ice removal. Flooding and severe weather events with high winds can also impact road conditions and cause problems for drivers. Our existing weather awareness communications efforts tie in nicely to the Weather-Ready Nation initiative, so this was a natural partnership for us.”
District 10’s public information officer, safety officer and incident management coordinator are members of a multi-discipline committee organized by the Jackson NWS office to develop and improve public communications strategies to increase awareness of the impact weather events can have on the lives of eastern Kentucky residents. The committee also includes other governmental agencies, area media and nonprofit organizations. District 10’s participation in the Weather-Ready Nation program came about as a result of that involvement. In addition, a number of District 10 personnel have been trained as weather spotters by NWS personnel.
“Many of our highway safety messages already involve adverse weather conditions,” Caudill said. “From safe driving tips on snowy or icy roads to the ‘turn around, don’t drown’ advice when motorists encounter flooded highways, these are exactly the types of efforts that the National Weather Service is looking for in its partner agencies.”
“Ambassadors are critical to building a Weather-Ready Nation,” said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “We welcome the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Highways District 10 as a new ambassador who is committed to empowering its employees and residents of Kentucky with lifesaving information about extreme weather events.”
District 10 includes the east-central and southeastern Kentucky counties of Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Magoffin, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Powell and Wolfe. All 10 of these counties are within the Jackson NWS office’s forecast area. During weather events or emergencies that impact travel, the district provides information to the public via Twitter and Facebook as well as sending updates to area media outlets.