After plenty of prep, storm system comes to Owen County

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By Molly Haines

After months of preparation, Owen County is now being recognized by the National Weather Service’s StormReady Program.
The StormReady program began in 1999 in Tulsa, Okla., and has helped to arm communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during a weather-related event.
Owenton Fire Chief David Lilly said to become StormReady, certain criteria are required throughout the United States. An evaluation is done to see if the community in question meets the specific criteria.
“We’ve been working with the city and county officials trying to get the various items that are required,” Lilly said. “We have the sirens in the city and the “One Call Now” system. We also have storm spotter classes that Wilmington, Ohio, puts out and exercises on weather events. Any time we have a weather event, we can have spotters out who will communicate back with us, letting us know the different things they find out, and we can report back to Wilmington.”
Lilly said Owen County is only the 49th county in Kentucky to be recognized as StormReady, and two signs will be placed in the county to let everyone know of the achievement.
In three years, the county will be re-evaluated to keep its StormReady status.
Lilly said to get additional StormReady points, the county would like to acquire Specific Area Messaging Event (SAME) radios and generators for storm shelters.
“It’s not an easy thing to come by,” Lilly said. “You have to do a lot of work and it all adds up eventually, but the community’s better for it. We train our responders and have various agencies ready for whatever happens.”