Commerce Department awards Silver Medal to Storm Prediction Center

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its Silver Medal Award to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla for public service and meritorious contributions. The Storm Prediction Center, along with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Birmingham, Ala., received the medal for providing the citizens of Alabama life-saving tornado watch and warning information during the tornado outbreak of December 16, 2000.

SPC Lead Forecaster Steve Corfidi and SPC Mesoscale Forecaster Johnathan Racy, who both worked the severe weather event, accepted the award today for the SPC from Commerce Secretary Donald Evans at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Secretary grants the Silver Medal — the Department’s second highest honorary award — to employees who have made contributions of exceptional value in support of overall departmental goals that serve the nation.

“While there were unfortunately 11 deaths with this storm, the teamwork between the Storm Prediction Center, the Birmingham National Weather Service Forecast Office, the Alabama media and the local emergency managers kept this outbreak, which included a violent F4 tornado, from being a major disaster with a much higher death toll,” said SPC Director Joseph Schaefer.

The Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, issues forecasts and watches for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes over the contiguous United States. The SPC also monitors heavy rain, heavy snow and fire weather events across the U.S. and issues specific products for those hazards. SPC meteorologists are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

More information about the Storm Prediction Center is available online at: http://www.spc.noaa.gov