Severe Weather Awareness Week

SERT-SWAW-GAP logos   

Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week
January 22 – 26, 2018

The Florida Division of Emergency Management announces the Annual Severe Weather Awareness Week statewide education campaign, to be held January 22-26, 2018.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is an opportunity for the Division to collaborate with the elementary schools throughout Florida to educate students about all types of severe weather that may occur.

Congratulations to the 2018 Kids Poster Contest Winners!

Robert McAfee
St. Marks School
Jacksonville, Florida

Chris Edelen
Shadeville Elementary School
Crawfordville, Florida

Alejandro Avila
Incarnation Catholic School
Tampa, Florida

2018 Severe Weather Awareness Guide

2018 Severe Weather Awareness Week Proclamation 

Severe Weather Awareness Week

Each day focuses on a specific weather event.
Monday's focus is on lightning.
Tuesday's focus is on marine hazards and rip currents.
Wednesday's focus is on thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Thursday's focus is on hurricanes and flooding.
Friday’s topic is temperature extremes and wildfires.

Please read and follow all the rules carefully so that all posters/drawings will be eligible. The posters that best illustrate natural hazards faced in Florida will be selected as the contest winners. Before the children begin drawing, we urge you to talk to them about severe weather in Florida and provide examples of what types of severe weather often occur in Florida.


  • Entry is open to registered Florida elementary school students.
  • The poster drawing must relate to the theme ‘Florida Severe Weather’ and should illustrate an example of natural hazards that affect Florida. As you know, the description of natural hazards is wide-ranging -- it can be a hurricane, a tornado, wildfires, flooding, heat waves, sink holes, etc. Encourage your students to be creative.
  • The finished poster must be no larger than 11" x 14". Designs should be submitted on quality poster illustration board or heavy paper. Students should only use crayons, magic markers, colored pencils or watercolor/acrylic paint. Those larger than 11” x 14” will be disqualified.
  • Posters with stencils, traced, computer-generated or commercially manufactured stick-on lettering or images will not be accepted.
  • Each poster must have the following clearly printed and attached to the back of the poster to be eligible:
    • The contestant’s name
    • Age
    • Grade level
    • School name and address (including county)
    • Parent/Guardian’s name and address, and telephone number
  • All entries MUST be received at the Florida Division of Emergency Management no later than FEBRUARY 9, 2018. All entries will become the property of the Florida Division of Emergency Management once submitted.

Send posters to: 
Florida Division of Emergency Management
ATTN: External Affairs
2555 Shumard Oak Blvd
Tallahassee, FL 32399                               
(850) 413-9969

  • Criteria for judging---creativity and how well the poster expresses the contest theme ‘Florida Severe Weather Awareness’. Winners will be announced February 16, 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

On the morning of the drill, all participants should consider themselves under a Tornado Watch. A Watch means you should monitor the weather and be prepared to go to a safe place in the event of a Warning. At approximately 10:00 a.m. EST, the National Weather Service will issue a practice Tornado Warning. The Warning will be broadcast on NOAA Alert Radio as a weekly test message.

Public and commercial broadcasters are encouraged to participate by broadcasting these messages immediately. For the Florida Panhandle counties within the Central time zone, all drill activities will be repeated one hour earlier (9:00 a.m. CST).

In real life, you must listen for the Watch and Warning messages to determine the threat to your area, and decided which protective actions to take. When in doubt, take immediate protective action! Plans may vary depending on the number of adults present, how vulnerable your location is, communications or other factors. All Floridians should use the tornado drill to develop and practice their severe weather plans. Being prepared saves lives!

Statewide Tornado Drill Timeline

School districts, private schools, preschools and daycare centers are urged to participate in the drill. The tornado warning will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and will be encoded as a weekly test for this drill.

  • In the weeks before the drill
    • Prepare
    • Inform staff
    • Review and refine a tornado plan (go to for more information)
  • January 24: The Day of the Drill
    After 8:00 a.m. EST
    Consider a Tornado Watch to be in effect
    • Announce watch to staff and/or students
    • Designate authority (coordinator)
    • Evacuate tornado vulnerable areas
  • 10:00 a.m. EST
    Tornado Warning
    • Receive message
    • Coordinator determines threat
    • Upon determination of immediate threat, give “take shelter” or “duck and cover” command (depending on space available at location)
  • 10:30 a.m. EST
    Termination of Watch and Warning
    • Give instructions to return to normal activities (You will not receive notification. Terminate the drill as you see fit.)
  • After the Drill
    • Following the drill, assess and revise plan as needed.
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