Severe Weather Awareness Week in Florida Set in Motion

January 31, 2011 Updated: January 31, 2011

Severe weather is nothing new to Floridians, especially with last week’s tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings across the Tampa Bay area.

In order to prepare Floridians for potential hazards, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM} and the American Red Cross are sponsoring the Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4.

The week will focus on five potential weather hazards that frequently affect the state: lightning, rip currents, tornadoes and thunderstorms, hurricanes and flooding, as well as wildfires, according to the division’s website.

"Recent severe weather events across the state serve to reiterate the fact that Florida experiences numerous types of severe weather throughout the year,” FDEM head David Halstead told local CBS-affiliated media WTSP.

FDEM will explore potential weather hazards on each day of the week. For example, Wednesday’s focus will be on tornadoes and thunderstorms. The National Weather Service and FDEM will conduct a statewide tornado drill at 10:10 a.m. for all those interested to participate and discuss their tornado safety plan.

“It is extremely important for our residents and visitors to be aware and prepared for these hazards,” Halstead told WTSP. “This week is a call for all Floridians to take action and build their family and business disaster plans."

Even though the state hasn't been it by a major hurricane in recent years, it has been particularly vulnerable to wildfires due to the decrease in rainfall. In 2007, Florida experienced its worst wildfire outbreaks in more than a decade.