By Brad Stager
As the calendar advances into the summer months in Florida, crisp, refreshing breezes and clear, azure skies make way for 90-degree-plus temperatures and banks of cumulus clouds that often precede rain showers.
There is a high probability that stepping outside your door means being greeted by a warm and soggy atmospheric hug.
While hurricanes get the big headlines, the local area’s daily weather also bears vigilant watching, said Daniel Noah of the National Weather Service (NWS) Tampa Bay area forecast office in Ruskin.
“Expect thunderstorms most every day from late May to mid-October. These storms produce frequent lightning and flood roads, making travel dangerous,” he wrote in an email. “When thunder roars, go indoors.”
Staying abreast of weather conditions that can change quickly involves effort from government, media and, importantly, individual residents, according to Noah.
“Your National Weather Service in Ruskin provides local emergency management [agencies] critical weather information to prepare for, respond to and recover from hurricanes. Our local media is responsible for communicating the weather threat to the public. [We] have multiple ways to receive a weather warning in case one way fails,” he said.
Methods that Noah recommends include installing a weather app from a local media outlet, having access to a radio that can receive weather updates and being familiar with information and services available on websites from organizations like the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Residents can also stay informed about the latest forecast information by monitoring NWS Tampa Bay’s social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, which can be accessed through the weather office’s website.
There is also a new program called Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors. It is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration initiative that works with local community organizations to improve severe weather awareness and safety within their spheres of influence. Groups such as government entities, businesses, print and broadcast media, churches, schools and homeowners associations are among the organizations whose participation is sought.
More information about becoming a Weather-Ready Nation ambassador is available on the NWS Tampa Bay website at weather.gov/tbw, where you can also find the latest local forecasts, watches and warnings as well as links to relevant social media accounts.