Severe Weather Awareness Week – Jan. 30 – Feb. 3
Throughout the week of January 30 - February 3, the University of South Florida is participating in activities programmed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management to raise awareness on severe weather conditions and other natural hazards, which commonly affect Florida residents. On Wednesday, February 1, USF participated in a tornado exercise, which involved FSU, UCF, UWF, FIU, University of Miami, St. Thomas University and many others throughout Florida. Although public education and awareness activities exist throughout the year on natural disasters such as hurricanes and severe thunderstorms, there is one phenomenon that is sometimes overlooked…wildfires.
Wildfires, sparked by either nature or human-made events, typically culminate in significant devastation of or environment, loss of homes and business, and unfortunately loss of life. Just recently several students from Florida State University were involved in a serious accident on our state highway when smoke from nearby wildfires interacted with foggy conditions, creating zero visibility driving conditions. As we conclude our participation in the Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week, l urge everyone to do your best to maintain situational awareness, be very mindful of changing weather conditions, and employ all precautions to remain safe even if they seem extreme at the time.
To learn more about severe weather conditions in Florida, visit USF’s Public Safety website at www.usf.edu/publicsafety or visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management at www.floridadisaster.org.
As always, “Be Safe, Be Ready, and Be Prepared!”
Paul Latham, USF Emergency Manager