Florida Residents and Visitors Urged to Use Caution as Potential Severe Weather Expected This Week


Florida Residents and Visitors Urged to Use Caution as Potential Severe Weather Expected This Week

Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) officials urge residents and visitors to use caution this week as potential severe weather is expected to impact portions of the state from this evening through late Friday night. Thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes, and heavy rain are possible through portions of North and Central Florida, including the Panhandle and Big Bend. Rainfall amounts up to 6 inches may lead to flooding due to existing moist soil conditions, and Flood Watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for much of North Florida. Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watches and Warnings may be issued on Friday. River flooding is expected to continue in North Florida over the next several days to weeks as a result of recent and previous storm systems.

Those with outdoor activities planned are advised to check the weather forecast before leaving for extended periods outdoors and watch for signs of approaching storms while outside. Postpone outdoor activities if storms are imminent. If severe weather is likely in your area, be sure to follow these additional important safety tips:

  • Ensure your NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio is on and programmed for your area or stay tuned to a trusted local media outlet for the most current weather situation.
  • Ensure your disaster supply kit is prepared and heed all instructions from local officials. For tips to help you build a kit, please visit www.FloridaDisaster.org
  • Know what you would do in the event of a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch or warning. 

 Severe Thunderstorm Watch v. Warning

Severe Thunderstorm Watch – Weather conditions favor thunderstorms capable of producing large hail or damaging wind at this location. Be prepared.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning – Large hail or damaging wind is occurring or will shortly at this location. Seek shelter.

Tornado Watch v. Warning

Tornado Watch – Weather conditions favor thunderstorm capable of producing tornadoes at this location. Be prepared.

Tornado Warning – A tornado is occurring or will shortly at this location. Seek shelter immediately in an interior room, away from windows. 

  • ​​​​If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning and should seek shelter. 

Before the flood reaches your area:

  • Know if floodwaters might affect your home and property. Know your elevation above flood stage.
  • Develop a flood emergency action plan.
  • Evacuate immediately, if advised to do so. Bring important documents with you.
  • Move to a safe area before access is cut off.
  • Keep abreast of road conditions through the news media.

During the flood:

  • Avoid areas subject to flooding. Do not attempt to cross flowing water.
  • Never drive through flooded roadways. Nearly half of all people killed in floods are those who try driving through flooded areas.
  • Do not drive around barricades, they are there for your protection.
  • If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately.
  • Never try to walk through or allow children to play around flood water.

After the flood:

  • Do not visit disaster areas, your presence may hamper emergency operations.
  • Throw out food that has come into contact with the floodwater and boil drinking water before using it.
  • Stay out of buildings that remain in flood waters.
  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas.
  • If the power is out, use flashlights to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
  • Report broken utilities to the correct authorities.

Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Do not make assumptions. Check your policy.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management encourages all residents to sign up to receive emergency alerts and other public safety notifications. To find your local notification system, please visit www.FloridaDisaster.org/AlertFlorida 

For additional updates, follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT and on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/FLSERT.

Updated: Thursday, December 13, 2018
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