NOUS42 KMLB 021308
PNSMLB
FLZ041-044>047-053-054-058-059-064-141-144-147-030500-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE FL
700 AM EST WED FEB 2 2011

...FEBRUARY 2 IS TORNADO AND THUNDERSTORM AWARENESS DAY...

TORNADOES ARE MORE FREQUENT IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA THAN MOST PEOPLE
REALIZE. MOST OF OUR TORNADOES OCCUR DURING THE WET SEASON WHICH
TYPICALLY RUNS FROM LATE MAY THROUGH MID OCTOBER. THESE TORNADOES
ARE USUALLY SMALL AND BRIEF...RESULTING IN LITTLE PROPERTY DAMAGE
AND ARE NOT A SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO LIFE.

HOWEVER...LARGE LONG TRACK AND DEADLY TORNADOES HAVE OCCURRED IN
EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA DURING THE DRY SEASON. THE DEADLIEST TORNADO
OUTBREAK IN FLORIDAS HISTORY OCCURRED THE NIGHT OF FEBRUARY 22 1998
WHEN SEVERAL LARGE TORNADOES SWEPT ACROSS CENTRAL FLORIDA KILLING 42
PEOPLE...DESTROYING 700 STRUCTURES AND CAUSING AN ESTIMATED 100
MILLION DOLLARS DAMAGE. THREE OF THE TORNADOES WERE RATED EF3
INTENSITY WHILE ANOTHER 2 TORNADOES WERE RATED AS EF2. THEN...IN THE
EARLY MORNING HOURS OF FEBRUARY 2 2007...A SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM
PRODUCED TWO EF3 TORNADOES OVER NORTHERN LAKE COUNTY...KILLING 21
PEOPLE. THESE TORNADOES OCCURRED LATE AT NIGHT WHEN PEOPLE WERE
SLEEPING WHICH LIKELY CONTRIBUTED TO THE LARGE NUMBER OF FATALITIES.

TORNADOES GIVE MUCH LESS ADVANCE WARNING THAN HURRICANES...BUT EVEN
A FEW MINUTES CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH. HAVING
A NOAA WEATHER RADIO IS A CRITICAL COMPONENT OF THE WARNING SYSTEM.
HAVING A WEATHER RADIO ALERT YOU OF AN APPROACHING
TORNADO...ESPECIALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT...HAS SAVED LIVES.
WHEN A TORNADO THREATENS YOUR AREA...STAY INSIDE AND GO TO AN
INTERIOR ROOM WITHOUT WINDOWS. IN A MULTI STORY BUILDING...GO TO THE
LOWEST FLOOR.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR DETECTS DAMAGING WINDS 58 MPH OR GREATER...OR
QUARTER SIZED HAIL OR LARGER. SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AND TORNADO
WARNINGS FOR EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA ARE COMMUNICATED DIRECTLY FROM THE
MELBOURNE FORECAST OFFICE TO NOAA WEATHER AND ALL HAZARDS RADIO...TO
THE INTERNET AT WEATHER.GOV/MELBOURNE...AS WELL AS TO LOCAL MEDIA BY
WAY OF THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM.

AS PART OF FLORIDA SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK...THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE AND THE FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
WILL CONDUCT A STATEWIDE TORNADO DRILL ON WEDNESDAY...FEBRUARY 2
BEGINNING AT 800 AM.

WHEN THE TORNADO WARNING FOR THE DRILL IS ISSUED...SCHOOLS
THROUGHOUT EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA ARE ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE BY
CONDUCTING A TORNADO DRILL AT THEIR INDIVIDUAL LOCATION...PUTTING
THEIR SEVERE WEATHER EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLAN INTO EFFECT. THIS
WILL GIVE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS AND SAFETY OFFICERS AN OPPORTUNITY
TO SEE HOW EFFECTIVE THEIR PREPAREDNESS PLAN ACTUALLY IS. IF YOUR
SCHOOL DOES NOT HAVE A SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS PLAN...CONTACT
YOUR COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OR THE MELBOURNE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE FOR ASSISTANCE.

HERE ARE THE PLANS FOR THE DRILL IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA...

THE TORNADO DRILL WILL BEGIN AT 800 AM WHEN ALL OF EAST CENTRAL
FLORIDA WILL BE CONSIDERED TO BE UNDER A TORNADO WATCH. NO PRODUCTS
WILL BE ISSUED AT THIS TIME. THIS IS THE APPROPRIATE TIME TO
ANNOUNCE THE WATCH TO STAFF AND STUDENTS...ASSIGN COORDINATORS...AND
EVACUATE TORNADO VULNERABLE AREAS.

A PRACTICE TORNADO WARNING WILL BE ISSUED AT 1010 AM BY THE
MELBOURNE WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE FOR ALL COUNTIES WITHIN EAST
CENTRAL FLORIDA INCLUDING BREVARD...INDIAN
RIVER...LAKE...MARTIN...OKEECHOBEE...ORANGE...OSCEOLA...SEMINOLE...ST
. LUCIE AND VOLUSIA. THE NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALERT WILL BE ACTIVATED
AT THIS TIME. THE PRACTICE WARNING WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR
APPROXIMATELY 20 MINUTES. SCHOOLS THAT PARTICIPATE IN THIS TORNADO
DRILL ARE URGED TO ACTIVATE THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURES WHEN THEY
RECEIVE THE PRACTICE TORNADO WARNING. ONCE ALL OF THE PREPAREDNESS
ACTIONS HAVE BEEN TAKEN AND THE STUDENTS HAVE BEEN MOVED TO YOUR PRE
ARRANGED SHELTER LOCATION...YOU CAN CONSIDER THAT THE DRILL IS OVER
FOR YOUR SCHOOL.

A MESSAGE WILL BE ISSUED AT 1030 AM TO ANNOUNCE THE TERMINATION OF
THE PRACTICE TORNADO WARNING.

$$

KELLY/SPRATT

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