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Posted January 19, 2018 | 10:39 AM

Severe Weather Awareness Week 2018

Lightning, and tornadoes, and wildfires, oh my! In 2017, we were reminded that weather is not always perfect in the sunshine state. Florida is still susceptible to hazardous conditions year-round. That's why Hillsborough County is joining state emergency officials in promoting Severe Weather Awareness Week, Jan. 22-26.

While most residents focus their preparedness efforts only on hurricane season, other types of severe weather can be just as devastating. Severe Weather Awareness Week calls attention to these potential hazards, how to prepare, and how to survive.

Here's the lineup for the week, and a few tips:

Monday, Jan. 22: Lightning

  • If you hear thunder, go indoors.
  • Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after thunder stops.
  • If you are outside in a storm, do not use trees for cover.

Tuesday, Jan. 23: Marine Hazards and Rip Currents

  • Before boating, check forecasts well ahead of time.
  • Be sure everyone is wearing a life jacket, and have a VHF marine band radio on board.
  • Never swim against a rip current. To escape the current, swim parallel to the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle toward the shore.

Wednesday, Jan. 24: Tornadoes and Thunderstorms

  • Have a family emergency plan that includes where to go if a tornado threatens.
  • During a tornado, go to an interior room without windows, and if possible, on the lowest floor of the building.
  • Never stay in an automobile.

Thursday, Jan. 25: Hurricanes and Flooding

  • Have a family emergency kit, and a plan that includes where you will go if you evacuate.
  • If a flood occurs, move to higher ground immediately.
  • Stay away from flooded roads. Turn around; don't drown.

Friday, Jan. 26: Temperature Extremes and Wildfires

  • In hot weather, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, and drink plenty of water.
  • In cold weather, protect people, pets, plants, and pipes.
  • When wildfire conditions exist, take steps to minimize potential damage to your home, such as removing pine needles and dry leaves within 5 feet of the structure.

For more information, including the County's Disaster Planning Guide, go to HCFLGov.net/StaySafe. Hillsborough County's official notification system for emergency messages and urgent information is HCFL Alert. Sign up to receive messages by email, phone, and text, at HCFLGov.net/HCFLAlert, or call (813) 272-6602.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For your convenience, we have created Severe Weather Awareness Week graphics for Facebook and Twitter. Please feel free to use and share.

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