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Storm season: watch what you consume, follow trusted sources for your information

June 7, 2024

It’s that time of year: severe weather and hurricane season. And that means it’s time to tighten the belt on where you consume or share weather information. Weather related content is a very competitive space these days. And the desire to get the most likes or shares on important weather can get lost in the battle to have the most views on a developing weather event. Many times social media creators use “click bait” to drive traffic to their social media pages or websites. The main purpose of click bait is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page or interact with a post that often will drive revenue to the content creator.

With the explosion in popularity of social media apps in the last few years, now, more than ever, social media has become a hotbed for people turning to untrained weather enthusiasts , weather watchers and uncertified storm chasers who are expert content producers and not necessarily experts in weather forecasting.

So what is a trusted and reliable source? There are a few simple steps you can take before you act (or don’t) on weather information. First, verify your source. Are they accredited and trustworthy? Are they a public or federal source for information? Second, avoid clickbait. Always think before you share any content that could affect a person’s ability to make decisions on preparing for the weather. Third, limit the rumor mill. Be wary of exaggerated or long range forecasts that have specific areas or cities in the cross-hairs of an event that is over a week away. Fourth, check to make sure what you’re looking at is current. Double check the time and date to ensure you have the latest information to make decisions. And lastly, use situational awareness. Be aware of impending weather. If you know bad weather is coming, and it could directly impact you, make sure you act accordingly and in advance of any last minute changes in the weather.

During urgent weather events, stay informed. Identify where to go for trusted sources of information during emergencies. Check with your local emergency management office to sign up for alerts that go directly to your phone or email. Be sure to monitor local news for watches and warnings in your area and follow directions of local officials. Power outages are always a concern during weather events—make sure you have a battery-operated radio available so you can still receive life-saving alerts. Make sure you have at least 2 reliable sources to get emergency weather alerts at all times.

Be sure to have these emergency alerts at your fingertips that include local mass notification systems:
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are short emergency messages from authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial public alerting authorities that can be broadcast from cell towers to any WEA-enabled mobile device in a locally targeted area.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that allows the president to address the nation within 10 minutes during a national emergency. State and local authorities may also use the system to deliver important emergency information such as weather information, imminent threats, AMBER alerts and local incident information targeted to specific areas.
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NWRs are a great source of real-time weather forecasts.
The FEMA App allows you to receive real-time weather and emergency alerts, send notifications to loved ones, locate emergency shelters in your area, get preparedness strategies and more.
Florida Storms App or Local Television Apps
Many local affiliates offer apps that can be downloaded to offer alerts from breaking news to weather forecasts and alerts. Check with your local station for more information.

Dave Sharp from the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Florida explains how a unified message starts with your local weather office. A forecast is most helpful when it comes from a recognized, trusted source, and accuracy is the foundation of what you seek. Your local National Weather Service is a great place to start. Also, make sure to check in with the National Hurricane Center’s social media pages from time to time to make sure you are not missing out on any critical tropical weather.

Disasters can happen anywhere and at any time of the year. Know where to receive timely, accurate, and reliable emergency communications before disaster strikes. You should have multiple methods of communications, alerts, and notifications to notify you of impending severe weather or other urgent situations. Preparing in advance and knowing which types of alerts work best for you and your household is important and could potentially save your life, or the life of someone else.

There are many resources available to assist with severe weather or hurricane planning efforts. Make sure Learn more about preparing your business, your family, and your property against extreme weather threats (and other disasters) at https://floridadisaster.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html or https://ready.gov/hurricanes.

LOCAL ALERTS
WEATHER
NEWS
TRAFFIC
Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

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A service of WUFT at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications 

Partners of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network include: Florida's Division of Emergency Management, WDNA (Miami), WFIT (Melbourne), WMFE (Orlando), WFSU (Tallahassee), WGCU (Fort Myers), WJCT (Jacksonville), WKGC (Panama City), WLRN (Miami), WMNF (Tampa-Sarasota), WQCS (Fort Pierce), WUFT (Gainesville-Ocala), WUSF (Tampa), WUWF (Pensacola) and Florida Public Media.

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