The National Weather Service has selected the Washington, D.C., metro area as one of half a dozen regions across the country to roll out community-based pilot programs for its new "Weather Ready Nation" campaign.
The campaign aims to better prepare Americans for extreme weather circumstances by emphasizing the threat extreme weather poses, urging individuals and families to create emergency plans and to better communicate the message of threats and warnings. The ultimate goal is to save more lives.
Weather service meteorologists will be deployed to D.C. and other localities, such as New Orleans and Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training local emergency management officials and the public at large.
These experts will help prepare these regions to better cope with extreme weather circumstances such as flooding, tornados, hurricanes and wildfires.
Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service, said the campaign is also designed to build stronger relationships with the private sector, including media outlets that can help spread its message of weather threats and warnings.
It is also testing ways to more effectively alert the public through the use of social media.
"As long as people are dying … the weather service and its partners will never be satisfied," Hayes said.
The beginning of August marked the start of the most active part of the Atlantic hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently revised its hurricane forecast, calling for a more active season than originally predicted this past spring.
No hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. in the last three years, Hayes said.
"So in some regards, you may think we're overdue," he said.