PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE FL
700 AM EST WED JAN 27 2010

...JANUARY 27 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 FLORIDA’S 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. 

NOT ONLY DID THESE DEADLY TORNADIC EVENTS OCCUR IN FEBRUARY AND IN THE
MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT...BUT ALSO DURING AN EL NINO. RESEARCH SHOWS THAT
THE THREAT FOR LARGE DEADLY TORNADOES IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA INCREASES
DURING EL NINO YEARS. CURRENTLY, EL NINO CONDITIONS EXIST. 

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 AVAILABLE TO ALERT 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...JANUARY 27 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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