- Associated Press - Thursday, December 11, 2014

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - The National Weather Service says it will recognize Faulkner County as a “StormReady” community next week.

Forecasters said that with the deaths in last April’s tornado at Mayflower and Vilonia, the county now ranks fourth in tornado fatalities statewide since 1950.

A ceremony is scheduled for next Wednesday.

The “StormReady” program recognizes communities that have made a commitment to save lives and property when bad weather strikes. Forecasters noted that many Vilonia residents were able to take shelter in a community safe room. Nationally, 2,200 communities have the designation.

To be recognized as StormReady, a county must maintain a 24-hour emergency operations center and have several ways to receive weather warnings and alert the public. They also must conduct community preparedness programs and address bad weather in formal emergency plans.

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