TALLAHASSEE — State and local emergency management officials are urging Florida residents and visitors to stay alert and exercise caution through the upcoming holiday as a storm system moves through the region today.


TALLAHASSEE — State and local emergency management officials are urging Florida residents and visitors to stay alert and exercise caution through the upcoming holiday as a storm system moves through the region on Tuesday, Nov. 26.



This storm system will have the potential to produce heavy rain, isolated tornadoes and damaging wind gusts..



 The Storm Prediction Center has placed much of Northwest Florida and the Suwannee Valley in a slight risk area for severe weather on Tuesday, with widespread showers and scattered thunderstorms also expected along the Peninsula,” said State Meteorologist Amy Godsey. “Periods of heavy rain are expected, and isolated occurrences of severe weather will be possible with any strong thunderstorms that develop.”



Behind the system, a cold air mass will bring sub-freezing temperatures to North Florida and cold wind chills along the entire state Wednesday night through Friday night.  A large portion of northern Florida will be affected, and temperatures could reach the mid 30s over interior portions of Central Florida. The National Weather Service typically issues Freeze Warnings when sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely for at least two hours.  These conditions can kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.  The elderly and the homeless are especially vulnerable to the cold, and cold weather shelter opening criteria may be met in many locations. 



Breezy conditions will also bring an elevated threat for rip currents to Florida’s panhandle through Tuesday and along Atlantic Coast beaches through Sunday. It is important to remember that when red flags are flying, beachgoers should remain alert while visiting Florida’s beaches. Additionally, the wildfire danger is elevated due to low humidity values, strong winds and fairly dry vegetation across the state.



Residents and visitors to the state should monitor local media outlets for local warnings and ensure that their NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio alert settings are turned on. Thanksgiving travelers should also use caution on area roadways during heavy rain and practice fire safety with the incoming cold temperatures later this week.



Residents and visitors should remember the "Five P's" of cold weather safety.  The “5 P’s” are: Protecting People, Protecting Plants, Protecting Pets, Protecting Exposed Pipes, and Practicing Fire Safety.



 



The following actions are important safety measures:



Stay indoors and use safe heating sources.



Be aware of the fire danger from space heaters and candles. Keep such devices away from all flammable materials such as curtains and furniture, and install recommended smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.



Indoors: Do not use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices, such as grills that produce carbon monoxide. Install at least one carbon monoxide detector per floor in your home.



Outdoors: Stay dry and in wind-protected areas.



Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing.



Drink non-alcoholic fluids.



Shelter or bring inside animals, especially pets.



The Division also urges Floridians to become Firewise and to Get A Plan! for their homes and businesses to prevent potentially hazardous wildfires. Along with Firewise prevention measures, officials urge residents to follow these guidelines set by the Division of Forestry:



Burning yard waste does not require an authorization from the Division of Forestry, but you should check with your local city and county officials to see if there are any restrictions in your area.



Your fire must be contained to an eight-foot diameter pile or non-combustible barrel and must be at least 25 feet from forests, 25 feet from your house, 50 feet from a paved public road, and 150 feet from other occupied buildings.



Don't burn on windy days or when humidity is below 30 percent.



Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure it is out before you leave.



To learn more about severe weather in Florida, and to Get A Plan!, visit www.FloridaDisaster.org, and follow FDEM on Twitter at @FLSERT, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT and www.Facebook.com/KidsGetAPlan.