When weather gets extreme, stay safe with these tips

When it comes to Florida's weather, most agree, it is predictably unpredictable. In the Sunshine State, drastic weather can occur at any time. Although hurricanes are most often associated with extreme weather, other severe conditions can be just as devastating.

To help residents prepare, Hillsborough County has joined with state emergency officials to promote Severe Weather Awareness Week from Feb. 5-9. Each day, follow Hillsborough County on social media as we highlight potential hazards and share tips on how to prepare and stay safe.

Here's the lineup for Severe Weather Awareness Week 2024.


• Check weather forecasts before spending extended time outdoors.
• If you hear thunder, stop swimming or other outdoor activities and seek shelter inside.
• While inside, stay away from windows and electrical devices.

Marine hazards and rip currents

• Before boating, check forecasts well ahead of time.
• When possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
• Take notice of beach warning flags; they have important meanings.
• To avoid rip currents, swim at least 100 feet from piers and jetties.

Thunderstorms and tornadoes

• Have a family emergency plan that includes where to go if a tornado forms.
• During a tornado, go to an interior room without windows and, if possible, on the lowest floor of the building.
• Have a device to receive weather alerts and to stay up to date on tornado watches and warnings.
• Never seek shelter in a vehicle during a tornado.

Hurricanes and flooding

• Have a family emergency kit and a plan that includes where you will go if you evacuate.
• Know evacuation routes and stock disaster supplies for at least seven days.
• Stay away from flooded roads. Turn around, don't drown.

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.
• Evacuate immediately when told and keep an N95 mask handy to protect against smoke inhalation.

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 HCFL.gov/HCFLAlert, or call (813) 272-6602.

For more information, including the County's Disaster Planning Guide, go to HCFL.gov/StaySafe.

Image Caption: Thunderstorms
Posted: 2/1/2024, 7:42:49 PM