Current Situation from FloridaDisaster.org

...Scattered Showers and Thunderstorms Expected in Central and South Florida...Small Hail, Damaging Winds Possible in South Florida...Cloudy Skies Expected Statewide Today...Moderate to High Fire Threat in the Florida Peninsula...High Rip Current Risk for East Coast Beaches...Moderate Rip Current Risk for Panhandle Beaches...

Updated 9:45 A.M. EST Thursday

Patchy fog may be present this morning in parts of the western Panhandle and South Florida, but any fog should dissipate quickly after sunrise. Elsewhere, a cold front is draped across Central Florida and a cluster of showers and thunderstorms are located just off the central Florida East Coast. These showers and thunderstorms are expected to move inland and spread over Central and South Florida today, with the best chances for rainfall in South Florida and along the East Coast. There is also a marginal risk for severe weather in South Florida through tomorrow morning, with small hail and gusty to damaging winds possible severe threats with any storms in the region.

Otherwise, cloudy skies are expected statewide today, and winds across the state will be greater than 10 mph and as high as 20 mph along the East Coast. High temperatures will be in the upper 60s to mid 70s in North Florida and in the upper 70s to near 80 in Central and South Florida. Chances for showers and thunderstorms will continue overnight in South Florida and the Keys, but the rest of the state can expect dry conditions under mostly to partly cloudy skies. Lows will be in the upper 50s to lower 60s in North and Central Florida and in the mid to upper 60s in South Florida.

There is a moderate to high fire weather threat in the Peninsula and Northeast Florida today, despite the rain chances in those areas, as drought conditions continue, winds are expected to be between 10 and 20 mph, and lightning-induced wildfires are possible. The fire weather threat is low elsewhere in Florida due primarily to expected winds around between 10 and 15 mph. Remember, wildfires can still occur on low fire weather threat days. Glades, Okeechobee and Hendry counties currently have burn bans in place.

Everyone is urged to exercise extreme care with respect to outdoor activities that could cause wildfires. Avoid the use of any equipment that can cause sparks near dry grass. Do not toss lit cigarettes on the ground. Report new wildfires quickly to the nearest fire department or law enforcement office. Residents and visitors should always use caution when handling flammable materials and open flames. Remember, wildfires can still occur on low fire weather threat days. When a Red Flag Warning is issued, it means that conditions are favorable for explosive fire growth. For fire safety tips, visit FireWise.org.

A high risk for rip currents is forecast for all East Coast beaches due to onshore winds approaching 20 mph and wave heights up to 8 feet. With those conditions, there is also a High Surf Advisory for East Coast beaches from St. Johns County to Martin County. A moderate risk for rip currents is forecast for all Panhandle beaches. A low risk for rip currents is expected at all other Florida beaches today. Rip currents can still occur on low risk days. Remembering to check the beach warning flag system before going into the water can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable Florida beach experience. If caught in a rip current, do not panic; swim left or right parallel to the shoreline until free from the current, then swim at an angle towards the shore. Remember, “Don’t Fight...Swim Left or Right”.

Florida's ESF-18 is committed to engaging the private sector in disaster response.

The State’s response effort is initiated through the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), which is comprised of Governor-appointed Emergency Coordination Officers (ECO) from State agencies and volunteer organizations. Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 Business, Industry, and Economic Stabilization integrates disaster response with private sector organizations. ESF 18 coordinates local, state and federal agency actions that provide immediate and short-term assistance for the private sector. Further, ESF 18 works with business and industry to identify available resources to meet the needs of the State and its citizens.

Working together to ensure that Florida is prepared to respond to emergencies, recover from them, and mitigate against their impacts.

Mission of SERT and the Florida Division of Emergency Management