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After Record-Breaking Storms, NOAA Wants ‘Weather-Ready’ Nation

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On the heels of nine natural disasters costing $35 billion total, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to help better prepare America for severe weather.

NOAA’s “weather-ready” nation initiative is a partnership with other agencies, researchers and the private sector.

NOAA said the initiative strives to protect both lives and property from severe weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and heat waves.

“The increasing impacts of natural disasters, as seen this year, are a stark reminder of the lives and livelihoods at risk,” National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said.

The new initiative calls for improved forecasting, improved communication of risk to local authorities and strong joint partnerships to enhance community preparedness.

The initiative also calls for implementing innovative technological and science solutions, such as dual-polarization radars. Dual-polarization radars send out two beams in both a horizontal and vertical direction, as opposed to one beam sent out by Doppler radar.

Dual-polarization radars can help detect tornadoes in places where a storm spotter may not be present.

NOAA said the U.S. has suffered nine major disasters this year, each with an economic loss of $1 billion or more. That ties 2008 for most billion-dollar disasters on record since 1980.

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