Monday, November 30, 2009

FLASH REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 30

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Governor Crist Signals End to 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season

~ Joins emergency officials in reminding Floridians to prepared year-round, notes threat of El Niño ~
Governor Charlie Crist today, signaling the final day of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, urged Floridians to remain vigilant and heed the advice of state emergency management officials by planning year-round for emergencies and natural disasters including hurricanes and tornadoes. The Governor noted the threat of global El Niño conditions which have the potential to trigger severe weather this winter and upcoming spring.

“Thankfully, we were blessed with another mild hurricane season that largely spared our state from the impacts seen during seasons past,” said Governor Crist. “However, I encourage our residents to understand the ongoing threats from El Niño and remain prepared for the possibility of dangerous storms this winter and spring.”

Due in part to the current El Niño pattern, which appeared in early July 2009, Florida was spared any major land-falling storms this year, though the Atlantic Basin spawned nine named storms and three hurricanes. The only two systems to make landfall in the United States impacted Florida. These storms were Tropical Storm Claudette in August and Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ida in November, which threatened the state’s northern Gulf Coast. The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee was activated a total of five days for the two storm events this season.

State emergency managers advise residents to remain prepared as an El Niño weather pattern may signal storms similar to the ones that occurred in 2007, when deadly tornadoes formed on the leading edge of several cold fronts during the winter months. The tornadoes that struck Lake County in 2007 killed 21 people, which was the deadliest tornado outbreak in the United States that year and the second deadliest in Florida’s history.

What is El Niño? What does it mean for Florida?

El Niño is a global weather phenomenon that results from changes in the atmosphere and the tropical Pacific Ocean. During times of moderate to strong El Niño, Florida typically sees a greater threat for severe weather, excessive rainfall and coastal storms during the winter and spring months. The current El Niño pattern is predicted to peak at moderate strength during the upcoming winter months, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

“It is important for Floridians to know that deadly tornado outbreaks struck during the overnight and early morning hours during El Niño events in 1982-83, 1997-98, and 2006-07, “ said Acting State Meteorologist Amy Godsey.

These events highlight the need for Floridians to invest in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “All-Hazards” alert radio for their families and businesses. These radios are relatively inexpensive and can be programmed to alert owners of severe weather or emergencies that occur in their county only.

“Floridians should remember that disasters can happen 365-days-a-year,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management Interim Director Ruben D. Almaguer. “Preparedness does not end with hurricane season. Because of our current threats, now is an excellent time to review, update your plans, take inventory of disaster supply lists, and recycle goods and batteries.”

With the holidays fast approaching, Governor Crist offered a few tips for residents who are recycling their disaster supplies.

“Consider making a holiday gift basket of preparedness items for families in need and donate non-expired goods to a local food bank or charitable community group,” said Governor Crist. “A NOAA alert radio can become a lifesaving stocking stuffer.”

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1, 2010. For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit www.FloridaDisaster.org. For the latest weekly situation and flash reports, go to www.YouTube.com/FloridaSERT or join the DEM blog at http://flsertinfo.blogspot.com/.

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COLD FRONT TO BRING SEVERE WEATHER THREAT ACROSS NORTH AND CENTRAL FLORIDA BEGINNING TUESDAY NIGHT

State emergency management officials are urging residents from the Florida Panhandle east through Central Florida to be prepared for possible severe weather beginning Tuesday night into Wednesday as a squall line of storms is forecast to develop ahead of a cold front by mid-week. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center has placed a large area of North and Central Florida, and the northwestern portion of South Florida at a slight risk for severe weather on Wednesday.

“Residents and visitors in North and Central Florida need to monitor the latest forecasts on this approaching weather system and be prepared to act if additional warnings are issued,” said Acting State Meteorologist Amy Godsey. “A NOAA Weather Radio can be a lifesaver especially during nighttime events.”

This squall line has the potential to produce heavy rain, strong winds and tornadoes late Tuesday night through Wednesday night as the front moves east. Some areas could receive as much as 2 to 4 inches of rain during the frontal passage with higher totals of 6 to 8 inches possible in 24 hours. In addition to the rain, strong southerly winds ahead of the system may also result in coastal flooding along the state’s northern Gulf Coast, where Coastal Flood Watches are now in effect.

“Residents are reminded to respect the power of water and to ‘turn around, don’t drown’ if faced with a flooded roadway,” added Godsey.

Severe weather and tornadoes can occur in any month in Florida. Many of these severe weather outbreaks occur at night during this time of the year. Residents and visitors to the state are urged to monitor this severe weather potential via local media or your local National Weather Service Office, and be sure that the alert settings on your family or business NOAA Weather Radio are turned on.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2010 Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week Poster and Video Public Service Announcement Contests Announced

TALLAHASSEE-- State emergency management officials today announced that Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week is scheduled for January 24-30, 2010. This year, the annual public awareness campaign includes a poster and video public service announcement (PSA) contest. Contest sponsors and prizes will be announced in the coming weeks.

"The goal of the week is to educate our residents and visitors about the natural hazards they may face and provide important information to help keep them safe," said Interim Director Ruben D. Almaguer of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. "It is a team effort and we are proud to have many great sponsors who are committed to this week of outreach and awareness."

ANNUAL POSTER CONTEST
Fourth and fifth graders in all 67 school districts are invited to participate in the statewide poster contest. All entries must be postmarked on or before THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2009 and must arrive at the Florida Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee no later than TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2010. Winners will be notified by phone. The top winners' artwork will be displayed in the State Emergency Operations Center during the first full week of February 2010. Prizes will include tickets to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks, among others. More information on prizes will be announced soon. For complete contest rules go to: www.FloridaDisaster.org/SWAW2010.

NEW VIDEO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUCEMENT (PSA) CONTEST FOR 2010
Middle and high school students in grades 6-8 and 9-12 are invited to produce a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) incorporating a safety or preparedness message about one of the following topics: Tornadoes, Rip Currents or Using NOAA Weather Radios. Final digital videos must be mastered as a DVD for submission to the Division. All entries must be postmarked on or before THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2009 and must arrive at the Florida Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee no later than TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2010. For complete contest rules, entry forms and topic information go to:
www.FloridaDisaster.org/SWAW2010.

There will be one individual or group (limit 4 people per group) winner chosen for both middle school and high school-level videos. The winning video(s) will be professionally reproduced for broadcast use by the Division of Emergency Management in their statewide public awareness campaign. A production team will come to the winner(s) hometown and will spend a full day shooting the winning PSA. The winner(s) will spend the day acting as the Director(s) and will be honored at a rally in their hometown. Prizes will include tickets to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks, among others. More information on prizes will be announced soon.
Winners will be announced on January 23, 2010, at a kickoff event for Severe Weather Awareness Week. Winners unable to attend this event will be mailed their prizes.

These contests are part of an annual public awareness campaign that also includes the statewide Tornado Drill to be conducted by the National Weather Service Offices in Florida at 10:10 a.m. Eastern Time (9:10 a.m. Central Time), on Wednesday, January 27, 2010.

For more information on Florida’s 2010 Severe Weather Awareness Week go to: www.FloridaDisaster.org/SWAW2010.

Monday, November 23, 2009


This holiday season, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants to remind passengers of the security procedures in place and help travelers be prepared for security, before they leave home. Please see the link at
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/holiday_travel.shtm

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weekly Report

Statewide Disability Coordinator Chip Wilson talks about emergency preparedeness.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weather Outlook: Wednesday - Friday



Wednesday & Thursday

The cold front will continue to make its way across Northeast and Central Florida while dissipating late Wednesday or early Thursday. High pressure will creep back into Florida and produce stable conditions across the state.

However, moist easterly flow across the eastern coast will cause a weak sea breeze effect and light showers may pop-up along the East-Central and Southeast Florida coast throughout the Wednesday and Thursday, lasting into the nighttime hours. Shower activity will be generally scarce and rain chances are only around 10-20% across Central and South Florida.

Daytime maximum temperatures will reach the mid to upper 60s across the western Panhandle, low 70s across the Florida Big Bend, upper 70s across Northeast Florida, and low 80s across Central and South Florida. Overnight minimum temperatures will fall to the low 40s across the western panhandle and Florida Big Bend, mid 50s across Northeast Florida, low 60s across Central Florida, and upper 60s to low 70s across South Florida.

Friday

High pressure will continue across the state producing partly cloudy skies and keeping rain chances less than 20% statewide. A non-tropical low pressure system will develop in the Western Caribbean and begin to move east-northeast with an accompanying cold front towards the panhandle throughout the day. Isolated to scattered showers will begin to impact the Panhandle and Florida Big Bend Friday night. Thick cloud cover will move into Northwestern Florida quickly after sunset. Widespread severe weather is not immediately anticipated Friday
Rip Currents

At the coast, hazardous rip current conditions are still present along the Atlantic Florida Coastline due to residual offshore swells up to 5ft, high astronomical tides in association with the new moon phase, and onshore wind flow. A high risk still remains for all beaches across the east coast, and the threat is expected to stay elevated with moderate to high risks through Friday. Moderate risks currently exist for the western panhandle and Bay County but the threat is expected to decrease as wave heights lessen and the passing cold front turns winds to the north. Daily surf zone and rip current forecasts for all Florida beaches.

Tropics

The tropics are currently very quiet. There are no active tropical systems and development is not expected within the next 48 hours. Only 2 weeks remain in the 2009 Hurricane Season. From a climatology standpoint of the last 100 years, only about 8 tropical systems have formed during the last 2 weeks of November. Regardless, cyclonic development is still possible and the Atlantic Basin will continue to be monitored closely until December. Tropical Outlook from the National Hurricane Center.

Monday, November 16, 2009

HIGH AND MODERATE RISK OF DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS EXPECTED
THIS WEEK ON FLORIDA’S ATLANTIC COAST BEACHES

Division of Emergency Management officials are urging beachgoers to use caution this week as a high risk of dangerous rip currents is expected along the state’s Atlantic Coast today, becoming a moderate risk on the Northeast coast by Tuesday. An offshore wind flow and high astronomical tide will also produce a moderate risk for the western Panhandle. Swimming is not encouraged in these dangerous conditions.

Beachgoers who want to learn more about rip currents can visit http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/. For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: http://www.floridadisaster.org/. For the latest weekly situation and flash reports go to: www.YouTube.com/FloridaSERT or join our blog at: http://flsertinfo.blogspot.com/ .

Friday, November 13, 2009

Elevated Rip Current Threat Continues This Weekend


Ocean swells along the Florida East Coast will result in a moderate risk of rip currents at Northeast and East Central Florida beaches today.
Beachgoers are encouraged to check beach warning flags or with local beach patrol before entering the water this weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekly Report for the Second Week of November

Meteorologist Amy Godsey details the statewide threat for rip currents going into next week.
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HIGH RISK OF DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS EXPECTED TODAY FOR GULF BEACHES FROM PINELLAS COUNTY SOUTH THROUGH LEE COUNTY

Beachgoers from Pinellas County south through Lee County are urged to use caution today as a high risk of dangerous rip currents is expected along the Gulf Coast. There is also a moderate risk posted for Levy County south through Pasco County. When red flags are flying beachgoers need to be aware that swimming in the Gulf of Mexico can be dangerous.

“Beach conditions will be very rough and rip currents can be life threatening to anyone entering the water,” Acting State Meteorologist Amy Godsey said. “We strongly urge beachgoers to check the rip current outlook and remember the warning flag signs before going into the water. Beachgoers should stay out of the water when red flags are flying.”

A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water running perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 200 to 2,500 feet (61 to 762 meters) lengthwise, but they are typically less than 30 feet (9 meters) wide. Rip currents can often move at more than 5 miles per hour (8 kilometers per hour) or faster.


Safety tips when at the beach:

Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
Never swim alone.
Learn how to swim in the surf. It's not the same as swimming in a pool or lake.
Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out.
Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.
Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist alongside these structures.
Consider using polarized sunglasses when at the beach. They will help you to spot signatures of rip currents by cutting down glare and reflected sunlight off the ocean’s surface.
Pay especially close attention to children and elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.

What to do if caught in a rip current:

Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
Never fight against the current.
Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore.
If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.

If you see someone in trouble, don't become a victim too:
Get help from a lifeguard.
If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.
Throw the rip current victim something that floats--a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
Yell instructions on how to escape.
Remember: many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.


Beachgoers who want to learn more about rip currents can visit www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov. For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: www.FloridaDisaster.org. For the latest weekly situation and flash reports go to: www.YouTube.com/FloridaSERT or join our blog at: http://flsertinfo.blogspot.com/ .

Gubernatorial Fellows Visit the State Emergency Operations Center

On Monday, the 2009-2010 class of Gubernatorial Fellows visited the State Emergency Operations Center during the Level 1 activation for Hurricane Ida. The Fellows got to see first-hand the state’s response to the impending storm, including the roles their agencies play as members of the State Emergency Response Team. The Fellows also got to meet with representatives from the Florida National Guard and received a briefing from the Interim Director, Ruben D. Almaguer.

The Florida Gubernatorial Fellows program was created from the belief that the best way to ensure Florida’s greatness is to actively educate and cultivate its future leaders. As Fellows, participants fulfill roles of critical responsibility, and interact closely with the state’s top leaders. For more information, please visit http://www.floridafellows.com/ – applications for the 2010-2011 class are due March 12, 2010.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

IDA NOW EXTRATROPICAL, RAINS CONTINUE TUESDAY

As of 10a.m.today, Ida has weakened with maximum sustained winds of 35mph and was located 25 miles west-northwest of Pensacola. Ida has already lost tropical characteristics and its winds are expected to slowly diminish during the next day or so.
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Tropical Storm Ida Makes Landfall Tuesday Morning

Safety is important today as residents venture out. Floridians urged to avoid flooded roads, downed power lines and stay out of the water. Children should not play in flood waters.

For more information go to www.FloridaDisaster.org

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tropical Storm Ida Video Update for Monday

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Hurricane Ida Now A Tropical Storm

Hurricane Ida has weakened to a Tropical Storm, however all residents and visitors are urged to continue and follow the storm into Wednesday.

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for all areas of northwest Florida.

There is a high risk of rip currents today along Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic Coast.

The main threat from Ida is high winds, storm surge, heavy rain and isolated tornadoes.Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated maximum amounts up to 8 inches are possible.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee was activated on Monday to a
Level 1, or full activation to monitor Ida and assist impacted counties.

The Florida Emergency Information Line (FEIL) will activate today at 9 a.m. The number
is 800-342-3557.

Due to the threat Hurricane Ida poses to the State of Florida, the Governor has signed Executive Order 09-243 declaring a State of Emergency.

The Latest on Hurricane Ida


MESSAGE OF THE DAY: Florida Gulf Coast residents and visitors need to closely follow the progress of Hurricane Ida. Residents in Watch and Warning areas should complete their disaster plans and heed any evacuation orders from local officials.

At 7 a.m. today, Hurricane Ida was located 330 miles south - southwest of Pensacola, Florida. Maximum winds were near 80 mph. Ida is moving toward the north-northwest at 16 mph. Ida is expected to approach the northern Gulf Coast on Monday night.

A Hurricane Warning is currently in effect for the Florida coast west of Indian Pass, with a Tropical Storm Warning in effect eastward to the Aucilla River.

Lake Wind and Wind Advisories are in effect for much of the Florida Peninsula today for expected sustained winds of 25-30 mph and gusts to 40 mph. This may continue into Tuesday, however, these strong winds are not directly associated with Ida's wind field.

A Coastal Flood Watch is in effect for the Panhandle coast west of Wakulla County.

An elevated rip current threat will continue along all Florida beaches through Tuesday.

Florida Gulf Coast residents and visitors in the Watch and Warning areas need to closely follow Hurricane Ida, implement their disaster plans and heed any evacuation orders.

Please remember to plan for your pets and check on your neighbors and the elderly.


Mariners need to secure their vessels and remain in safe harbor as directed by Coast Guard officials.

It is the responsibility of all Floridians to take the necessary steps to prepare themselves and their family. Once you are prepared, check on a neighbor and encourage them to do the same. To Get A Plan! go to http://www.floridadisaster.org/ today.

Current Threats
A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for all areas of northwest Florida.

There is a high risk of rip currents today along Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic Coast.

The main threat from Ida is high winds, storm surge, heavy rain and isolated tornadoes. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated maximum amounts up to 8 inches are possible.

State Actions
The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee activated on Monday to a Level 1, or full activation to monitor Ida and assist impacted counties.

The Florida Emergency Information Line (FEIL) will activate today at 9 a.m. The number is 800-342-3557.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Floridians Urged to Prepare for Hurricane Ida

FUTURE IMPACTS FOR FLORIDA

Whether Ida maintains a storm or loses tropical characteristics, the Florida Gulf Coast region has the potential to see several inches of rain, strong winds, isolated tornadoes and dangerous surf and coastal flooding beginning Monday evening and continuing into Wednesday.

In the Panhandle, tropical storm force winds along with gusts to near hurricane strength are possible as early as Monday night. Rainfall totals of 3-6 inches that may lead to minor flooding of roads and rivers is possible through Wednesday. Storm tide values of 3-9 feet with moderate beach erosion and minor coastal flooding could also occur. Dangerous rip currents will be prevalent along all coastal areas statewide through the middle of this week.

The Florida Big Bend region could see tropical storm force winds Tuesday through Wed morning. Rainfall amounts of 1-3 inches may be experienced across the region, along with storm tide values of 6-9 feet along the Franklin and Gulf County coastline and 3-6 feet in Apalachee Bay. Isolated tornadoes are possible with any strong rain bands.

The Florida Peninsula may see tropical storm force gusts at any time through Thursday. A moderate to high rip current risk is expected along both Atlantic and Gulf Coasts through Wednesday.

CURRENT SITUATION / STATE ACTIONS


The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee continues to monitor Ida through the State Watch Office and the Meteorology unit. The State EOC in Tallahassee will be activating to a Level 2, partial activation status at 4:00p.m. this afternoon. The Governor and his staff are participating in conference calls and are being briefed on Ida’s progress.

The State is continuing conference calls with county emergency management officials and state partners in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia on Friday. State officials remain in contact with our partners at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and will continue to coordinate with them through the duration of this event.

State Emergency Response Team Regional Coordinator’s are located throughout the state and are being updated on the storm and will continue coordinating with local officials. State Management Team members have been identified and are prepared to deploy as needed if Ida were to impact Florida. Preliminary Damage Assessment teams have been identified to assess damage in the impacted areas as necessary.

The State Logistics Response Center in Orlando is fully stocked with needed supplies and commodities and staff is on alert status to activate it if conditions warrant.

Emergency Coordinating Officer’s from all state agencies will meet at the State Emergency Operations Center Monday morning for a briefing from the Interim Director Ruben D. Almaguer and the Interim Deputy Director/SERT Chief David Halstead.

RECOMMENDED PUBLIC ACTIONS

Florida Gulf Coast residents and visitors need to closely follow Hurricane Ida and be prepared to implement their disaster plans and heed any evacuation orders.

Please remember to plan for your pets and check on your neighbors and the elderly.

Mariners need to make preparations to secure their vessels and remain in safe harbor as directed.

Residents and visitors should heed the advice of local officials in regards to evacuations and protective actions if conditions warrant. Those in low lying areas and mobile homes are urged to heed evacuation orders from local officials.

Land falling tropical systems typically spawn isolated tornadoes and many times these tornadoes can be far removed from the center of the storm. All residents are urged to have an all-hazards weather radio in their homes to receive the latest weather watches and warnings.

Remember, “Turnaround, Don’t Drown” if faced with a flooded roadway. It only takes a foot or two of moving water to sweep most cars off the road. Stay safe and observe all detours and closures.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Residents across Florida are urged follow the progress of Ida and be prepared to implement their family disaster plans and heed local advisories,” said Ruben D. Almaguer, Interim Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “All Floridians should take this storm seriously and not be caught off-guard over the next few days.”

BE SMART, BE SAFE, BE A SURVIVOR! For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: http://www.floridadisaster.org/. Governor Crist has proclaimed the month of August as Kid’s Weather Survival Month. All students, teachers and parents can find educational information and free downloadable materials at: www.KidsGetAPlan.com. And for the latest situation and flash reports go to: www.YouTube.com/FloridaSERT .

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tropical Storm Ida


Florida residents and visitors should monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Ida through the weekend and into next week. Residents and visitors are encouraged to enjoy their weekend and all activities statewide, but are also encouraged to take a few minutes to review their disaster preparedness plan and to restock any needed items in their disaster supply kit.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Weekly Report for the First Week of November

This week meet Dr. Deborah Hanley, DEM Training and Exercise Officer. And Deputy Meteorologist Amy Godsey updates the weather outlook, rip current threats and the tropics.

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HIGH RISK OF DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS EXPECTED TODAY THRU FRIDAY FOR THE FIRST, SPACE AND TREASURE COASTS
THREAT TO INCLUDE SOUTH FLORIDA BEACHES BY THE WEEKEND

Florida Division of Emergency Management officials are urging beachgoers in Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties to use caution today thru Friday as a high risk of dangerous rip currents is expected along the First, Space and Treasure coasts. This threat is expected to extend to South Florida Atlantic beaches by the weekend. When red flags are flying beachgoers need to be aware that swimming in the Atlantic can be dangerous. For more information please go to www.FloridaDisaster.org