The Tampa Port Authority, in conjunction with NOAA’s National Weather Service and other key partners, celebrated the kick-off today of an initiative called “Weather-Ready Nation”, a highly collaborative project in Tampa Bay to provide enhanced support services and rapid information sharing before, during and after severe weather and other marine weather events.

Of particular importance to the port authority is the maritime aspect, as this new pilot project will go beyond the traditional domain of the National Weather Service and address impacts that cross both ecological and economic boundaries. The waters of Tampa Bay play host to an extremely busy, 42-mile cargo ship channel, and the journey for the vessels can vary, weather-wise, along that path. Therefore, timely and accurate weather information and support can be a critical factor.

Tampa Bay is one of six Weather-Ready Nation areas, along with Washington D.C.; New Orleans; Fort Worth, Texas; Charleston, WV; and Silver Spring, MD. The project will engage multiple agencies, emergency management and the media to provide the best possible weather and environmental service.  Other partnering agencies are the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Ocean Service, the Office of Response and Restoration, and Mote Marine Laboratory, in Sarasota. Some of the benefits of this joint partnership will be the mitigation of future risk and impact from hurricane storm surge and the provision of safety and high-impact marine weather information for the safety of marine navigation through the port.