Education stressed during Severe Weather Awareness Week

Courtesy of

The Florida Division of Emergency Management, NOAA and the National Weather Service joined forces last week to celebrate Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week. FSWA took place from Jan. 14-18.

Severe weather awareness week served to educate Floridians on the severe weather that frequently impacts the state and how to better prepare for such events.

During Florida Severe Weather Week, each day of the week was focused on a severe weather element.

Monday’s focus was lightning. According to, “Lightning is one of nature’s deadliest and most unpredictable weather phenomena. Florida averages seven fatalities per year due to lightning, with many more injuries, and often leads the nation in lightning deaths.”

With spring just a couple of months away, Tuesday’s focus was marine hazards and rip currents. At 10 a.m. Wednesday, students, teachers and staff at Chaires Elementary School participated in the annual statewide tornado drill. “Our team did a great job,” said Michelle Prescott, Chaires’ principal. “It is important that they know what to do in case of the actual event. The only way that they can know that is to practice.”

After the tumultuous 2018 hurricane season that left many homes and families in Florida devastated, Florida’s Division of Emergency Management set aside Thursday as the day to better educate the state on the do’s and don’ts during hurricane season and the dangers of flash flooding. According to, “Hurricanes are known and feared for their ferocious winds, historically it is the water that causes most of the deaths in hurricanes. About 90 percent of all hurricane fatalities occur from drowning in either storm surge or freshwater flooding.”

Severe weather week wrapped up on Friday with a focus on temperature extremes and wildfires. Florida’s Division of Emergency Management touched on the basics of extreme cold in Florida. “In addition to the actual low temperatures sometimes experienced across the Sunshine State, when strong winds combine with cold temperatures, the heat loss from a person's skin can be accelerated, Because of normally mild temperatures, Florida homes often lack adequate heating and insulation and the Florida outdoor lifestyle leads to danger for those not prepared.”

Although Florida is known as the Sunshine State, according to, the coldest day in Florida experienced a record of 2 degrees below zero.

Experts on the matter encourage Floridians to remember “Five P’s” for weather safety. Protect people, protect plants, protect pets, protect pipes, and practice fire safety.

For more information on Severe Weather Awareness Week visit