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Maryland Department of Emergency Management

Caroline, Kent Counties Help Make Maryland Eighth State Certified As Totally “StormReady”

Announcement Made at First Mesonet Tower Serving Upper Eastern Shore as State Weather Network Grows

StormReadyRIDGELY, MD (May 3, 2024)  Caroline and Kent counties in Maryland recently received their StormReady certification from the National Weather Service (NWS), making Maryland the eighth state to have all of its local jurisdictions be certified as StormReady. The program was started by the NWS in 1998 and uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of extreme weather—from tornadoes to winter storms.

The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) today joined NWS officials and local partners from Caroline and Kent Counties to announce the milestone at the recently erected Mesonet tower adjacent to Ridgely Elementary School in Caroline County. The tower is one of 70 planned weather data collection stations across the State and the first on the upper Eastern Shore. It is a partnership between MDEM and the University of Maryland’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.

“Becoming StormReady is a significant milestone for our State and a crucial step for our local governments and partners to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors,” said Emergency Management Secretary, Russ Strickland. “I extend my sincere appreciation to Caroline and Kent counties, as well as all our local jurisdictions in Maryland, for their commitment to this endeavor. Special thanks are due to our local emergency managers for their dedicated efforts in guiding their communities through the process. Together, with our expanding network of Mesonet towers, we’re diligently working to enhance Marylanders’ safety against natural hazards.”

To qualify as StormReady, a community must: establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts to alert the public; create a system that monitors weather conditions locally; promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

The project in Maryland was supported by the three NWS Forecast Offices serving the State: Baltimore-Washington in Sterling, VA, serving all counties west of the Chesapeake plus Cecil County; Mount Holly, NJ, near Philadelphia, serving Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties; and Wakefield, VA, serving Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. StormReady traces its roots to a program called StormWise, which was started in 1998 by NWS Tulsa, Oklahoma in the area known as “Tornado Alley,” and was renamed StormReady in 2002.

“As a native Marylander, I am pleased that Maryland is one of the first StormReady states in the Nation,” said James E. Lee, Meteorologist-In-Charge at the Baltimore-Washington Forecast Office. “It speaks to the dedication of the partnership between all of the local jurisdictions in Maryland, the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, and the National Weather Service, with the shared goal to keep Marylanders safe from the multitude of weather threats we may experience.”

The program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines. For more information, visit the StormReady website.

In addition to Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City, other StormReady entities in the state include Ocean City; University of Maryland College Park; and Six Flags America in Prince George’s County. StormReady supporters are organizations, businesses, or facilities actively engaged in weather safety and preparedness but are unable to meet all the requirements of the full StormReady program, and include Arundel Mills Mall in Anne Arundel County, Clarksburg Premium Outlets in Montgomery County, Hagerstown Premium Outlets in Washington County, Queenstown Premium Outlets in Queen Anne’s County, and Towson University in Baltimore County. Other states with total StormReady participation include Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

The Mesonet site is one of 10 now operational around Maryland that provides near real-time weather information and data collection. This Mesonet tower station, currently the Easternmost site in Maryland, can also be valuable in providing real-time weather information for storms heading east toward our neighbors in Delaware. Other towers already serving the region include Wye Mills in Queen Anne’s County and Easton in Talbot County.

The Maryland Mesonet’s mission is to design, build, and operate a network of high-quality, closely spaced, rapid-sampling weather monitoring and data collection systems across the State to advance emergency preparedness, the accuracy of regional weather forecasts, and expedite disaster assessment and recovery.

Each mesonet site measures air temperature, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, rainfall, snow depth, and soil moisture and temperature at five depths, most at one-minute intervals. The measurements are sent to data servers at the University of Maryland using cellular transmission. The automatic quality-controlled observations are transmitted in near real-time to the NWS and simultaneously available to emergency management personnel and the public from the Mesonet website.

MDEM reminds Maryland residents and visitors to have multiple ways to receive alerts. For more information, visit MDEM’s website at, follow MDEM’s Twitter feed at @MDMEMA, or follow MDEM’s Facebook page at To receive alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards affecting or that may affect Maryland, text MdReady to 211-631 or text MdListo for Spanish.

**PHOTO BELOW: Speakers gather after the press conference. From left to right: Maryland Mesonet Manager James Hyde; Kent County Administrator Shelley Heller; Caroline County Emergency Management Division Chief Doug Jones; National Weather Service (NWS) Director Ken Graham; and Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) Secretary Russ Strickland**











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