NOAA is launching a comprehensive initiative to build a “Weather-ready” nation to make America safer by saving more lives andprotecting livelihoods as communities across the country become increasingly vulnerable to severe weather events, such as tornado outbreaks, intense heat waves, flooding, active hurricane seasons, and solar storms that threaten electrical and communication systems.

NOAA is also announcing that the United States has so far this year experienced nine separate disasters, each with an economic loss of $1 billion or more — tying the record set in 2008.

The latest event to surpass the $1 billion price tag is this summer’s flooding along the Missouri and Souris rivers in the upper Midwest. This year’s losses have so far amounted to more than $35 billion.

“Severe weather represents a very real threat to public safety that requires additional robust action,” said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “The increasing impacts of natural disasters, as seen this year, are a stark reminder of the lives and livelihoods at risk.”

In partnership with other government agencies, researchers, and the private sector, the National Weather Service is charting a path to a weather-ready nation through:

• Improved precision of weather and water forecasts and effective communication of risk to local authorities;

• Improved weather decision support services with new initiatives such as the development of mobile-ready emergency response specialist teams;

• Innovative science and technological solutions such as the nationwide implementation of Dual Pol radar technology, Integrated Water Resources Science and Services, and the Joint Polar Satellite System;

• Strengthening joint partnerships to enhance community preparedness;

• Working with weather enterprise partners and the emergency management community to enhance safety and economic output and effectively manage environmental resources.