~Floridians reminded to stay aware of severe weather and remain prepared~
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) marks the official end of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season today and reminds Floridians that emergency preparedness does not end with hurricane season. It is important for Floridians to remember that the end of hurricane season brings the beginning of Florida’s severe weather season, as strong cold fronts move through the state.
“This year, Floridians were reminded of the effects tropical systems can have on our communities and that it only takes one storm to have an impact,” said FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon. “As we move into severe weather season in Florida, I urge all Floridians to maintain emergency plans and disaster supply kits to ensure preparedness for all types of hazards.”
The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season was more active than predicted, tying with four previous seasons as the third most active season in recorded history. There were 19 named tropical systems, 10 of which were hurricanes. Two storms, Alberto and Beryl, formed before the official start of hurricane season, an occurrence not seen since 1908.
Four storms, Beryl, Debby, Isaac and Sandy, had significant impacts in Florida. Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall in Jacksonville Beach, Florida on May 28, 2012. Beryl’s landfall was the strongest landfall in the United States for any pre-season Atlantic tropical cyclone on record.
Tropical Storm Debby made landfall in Steinhatchee, Florida on June 26, bringing record breaking amounts of rainfall and flooding across. Five Florida rivers reached major flood stage, including two rivers, the Sopchoppy and the St. Marys, that reached record breaking crests. Due to the impacts of the storm, a federal major disaster declaration granted 30 counties Public Assistance, and 22 counties Individual Assistance.
Hurricane Isaac made landfall twice in southern Louisiana on August 28 and 29, 2012, but not before impacting Florida counties. Areas of Florida experienced record rainfall and flooding, as well as tornadoes spawned from the storm. Preliminary damage assessments performed in 15 Florida counties revealed $48,345,637 in total damage due to Isaac’s impacts, and a federal major disaster declaration for Public Assistance was declared in 11 counties.
Hurricane Sandy developed as a tropical depression in the southwestern Caribbean Sea, eventually becoming a Category One Hurricane and making landfall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 29, 2012. Tropical Storm Warnings were issued for all 13 Atlantic Coast counties in Florida, and tropical storm force winds were observed across coastal areas of southeast and east central Florida. Increased surf and coastal flooding caused significant damage to Florida’s beaches, and preliminary damage assessments found total community damage of more than $44.9 million. Florida’s initial request for a federal major disaster declaration for public assistance was denied.
With the potential for more storms systems to affect Florida during the coming months, the threat for flooding and severe weather, especially in the form of tornadoes, increases across the state. Residents and visitors are encouraged to be prepared for the possibility of dangerous storms in the coming months.
“It is difficult to forecast when and where severe weather will occur this winter and spring, so the best course of action is to have a preparedness plan in place,” said FDEM State Meteorologist Amy Godsey. “It is important to ensure that your family knows in advance what actions to take in the event of severe weather and to respond quickly if a warning is issued for your area.”
To monitor potential weather conditions, residents and visitors are encouraged to have a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. This portable radio alerts listeners to warnings of possible tornadoes, severe storms and potential for wildfire. In addition, it is suggested that you have an alternate method to receive weather alerts, such as using a text message service that sends warnings directly to your cellular phone.
To learn more about severe weather in Florida, and to Get A Plan!, visit www.FloridaDisaster.org, www.KidsGetAPlan.com and follow FDEM on Twitter at @FLSERT, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT and on Google+ at FLSERT.