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During an emergency, you may hear rumors. Please don't accept rumor as fact. Special telephone hotlines will provide the latest official information. However, use telephones only when absolutely necessary so telephone circuits will remain clear for emergency workers.
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WTVT-TV - Ch. 13
WCJB-TV - Ch. 20
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WTOG-TV - Ch. 44
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Levy County Emergency Management, located in the Emergency Operations Center in Bronson, Fl, is the "Direction and Control Center" for Levy County in times of disaster.
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2014 Storm Names
Arthur,  Bertha,  Cristobal,  Dolly,  Edouard,  Fay,  Gonzalo,  Hanna,  Isaias,  Josephine,  Kyle,  Laura,  Marco,  Nana,  Omar,  Paulette,  Rene,  Sally,  Teddy,  Vicky,  Wilfred
Levy County Emergency Management hopes this website provides the citizens of Levy County with the proper information that is needed to make informed decisions and preparations regarding your disaster preparedness plans for the Hurricane season.

During a storm event, it is our goal to provide the latest emergency information available regarding protective action decisions and safety information.

Our normal office hours are Monday - Friday 8 am to 5 pm. If you have any questions or comments regarding disaster planning for yourself, your family, your home or business, please contact Levy County Emergency Management at 352-486-5213.
For non-emergency inquiries after normal business hours or on weekends, please call the Levy County Sheriff's Office at 352-486-5111.

To report EMERGENCIES during after hours and weekends contact the Levy County Sheriff's Office emergency 911 phone number.

Also keep an eye on our Current Events section which will give you upcoming event and course locations.

Thank you and we hope you find our website useful.
Florida’s Severe Weather Awareness Week takes place from February 2-6, 2015. Severe Weather Awareness Week is an opportunity for Floridians to learn about the various weather hazards that frequently impact the state and how families and businesses can prepare for these natural events.

Each day focuses on a specific weather event. Monday’s focus is on lightning.
Lightning is one of nature’s deadliest and most unpredictable weather phenomena. Meteorologists can forecast the general conditions that cause lightning but no one can forecast the exact location or time of the next strike of lightning.

All thunderstorms contain lightning which can strike a person, tree or an object either on the ground or in the air. Lightning strikes the ground about 25 million times each year and continues to be among the top weather-related killers in the United States.

The 2015 Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week is a perfect time to note that our state, out of all 50 states, is the lightning capital of the North America. With an average of 1.4 million cloud- to-ground lightning strikes each year, no other state experiences more lightning strikes per square mile than Florida.

Lightning is often seen as an underrated killer, because it does not generate as much attention compared to other forms of hazardous weather and usually only claims one or two victims at a time. Most people that are struck by lightning are not killed, but suffer significant injuries. On average, lightning kills 40 people each year in the United States. Florida averages 7 fatalities per year due to lightning, with many more injuries, and often leads the nation in lightning deaths. In 2014, Florida again claimed this unfortunate distinction, with 6 total fatalities.

Why does Florida have this distinction? Florida’s geography plays a large role, especially during the summer. Some of the elements that make Florida such a great place to live, such as sunshine and the ocean, play important roles in the development of thunderstorms. Because thunderstorm activity peaks in the summer, when most people are enjoying the warm weather, Florida often has the greatest number of lightning fatalities each year in the United States.

One characteristic that makes lightning so dangerous is its extensive range. Lightning has the ability to strike 10 miles or more away from the thunderstorm core, making it the first storm hazard to arrive and the last to leave, so while it may not be raining at your location, lightning can still reach you. Also, once the lightning strike hits the ground, it can travel up to 60 feet outward from the point of contact. The other characteristic that makes lightning so dangerous is its power and speed. The average lightning bolt carries 100 million volts of electrical potential.

DID YOU KNOW??? Contrary to belief, lightning CAN strike the same place twice and rubber shoes or tires DO NOT protect you from lightning strikes.

Thunder is a product of lightning. As lighting moves between the ground and thunderstorm, the air around the flash heats rapidly, to temperatures as high as 50,000°F – a temperature hotter than the surface of the sun. This sudden heating creates expansion of the air around the lightning bolt at speeds greater than the speed of sound. The expanding air breaks the sound barrier resulting in the explosive sound we know as thunder. Thunder is really just another form of a sonic boom.

Thunder travels at the speed of sound, which is roughly 1 mile every 5 seconds. You can determine how far away a flash of lightning is by counting the number of seconds that pass after observing a lightning bolt. For every 5 seconds that elapse, the lightning is one mile away. For example, if it takes 15 seconds for the thunder to reach you, then the lightning strike occurred about three miles away.

A "Bolt from the Blue" lightning strike is a flash which travels a relatively large distance in clear air away from the parent thunderstorm and then strikes the ground. These lightning flashes have been documented more than 25 miles away from the thunderstorm cloud. These events can be especially dangerous, as they appear to come from “clear blue sky.”

Nearly half of all lightning deaths occur in open areas. Many are struck when they go under a tree to keep dry during a storm. Outdoor water activities such as swimming, boating and fishing are equally as dangerous. Therefore, when thunderstorms are approaching, avoid outdoor activities as if your life depends on it – because it does!

A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Being observant when outside is your first line of defense with lightning. A darkening cloud building in the sky is often the first sign that lightning could occur.
The main tip to remember regarding lightning safety is: being outside is never safe during a thunderstorm!

At the first sign of lightning or sound of thunder, you should immediately head inside an enclosed structure and remain away from windows. Even while inside, it is important to stay away from windows and not use any corded electrical devices or running water from faucets.

If you can’t make it inside when a thunderstorm approaches, the most dangerous place to be is in an open area. Equally as dangerous is being caught over the open water of a lake or ocean when a thunderstorm is in the area. This is because lightning will tend to strike the tallest object in the area. This also why standing under tall trees is very dangerous. When you can’t make it to an enclosed building, your next best course of action is to get into a vehicle with a hard-topped roof.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 21-27, 2015 and more information about lightning hazards and what you can do to protect yourself and others can be found at:
www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov and www.floridadisaster.org
The NOAA Weather Radio Programming Code for LEVY County is: 012075
Disaster Prevention

Historic Storm Surge Reality

In late 2004, The Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council located in Ocala, Fl. serving Levy, Marion, Citrus, Sumter and Hernando Counties completed the WITHLACOOCHEE HURRICANE EVACUATION STUDY. This study was presented to Levy County Emergency Management during last years historic Hurricane season.

One section of the Levy County portion of the study produced a storm surge vulnerability assessment. The following pictures illustrate historical flood level data over the past 100 years for the municipalities of Inglis, Yankeetown, and Cedar Key, Fl. These high water levels are identical to the storm surge levels that destroyed the coastlines and backwater areas in Mississippi and Louisiana.
"Storm Surge" is a MAJOR INGREDIENT of a hurricane. What is a storm surge? Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more. Additionally, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides and the “spring tides” found along the Levy County Coastline. Because much of the densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less that 10 feet above mean sea level, THE DANGER FROM STORM TIDES IS TREMENDOUS.

The level of surge in a particular area is also determined by the slope of the continental shelf. A shallow slope off the coast will allow a greater surge to inundate coastal communities. Levy County coastline has a very shallow slope leading out to the continental shelf. Communities with a steeper continental shelf will not see as much surge inundation, although large breaking waves can still present major problems. Storm tides, waves, and currents in confined harbors severely damage ships, marinas, and pleasure boats.
Surge Chart
Levy County Storm Surge Boundaries by Storm Category

Tropical Storm - Dark Red
Category 1 - Red
Category 2 - Orange
Category 3 - Yellow
Category 4 - Green
Category 5 - Light Blue

Wave and current action associated with the tide also causes extensive damage. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard; extended pounding by frequent waves can demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand these forces. The currents created by the tide combine with the action of the waves to severely erode beaches and coastal highways. Many buildings withstand hurricane force winds until their foundations, undermined by erosion, are weakened and fail. Storm surge also affects rivers and inland lakes, potentially increasing the area that must be evacuated.

The more intense the storm, and the closer a community is to the right-front quadrant, the larger the area that must be evacuated. The problem is always the uncertainty about how intense the storm will be when it finally makes landfall.

Emergency managers and local officials balance that uncertainty with the human and economic risks to their communities. This is why a rule of thumb for emergency managers is to plan for a storm one category higher than what is forecast. This is a reasonable precaution to help minimize the loss of life from hurricanes.

Having said this, Government can only do so much in helping a population to prepare for a Hurricane. Residents and business must take “ownership” for their own safety by preparing, planning and being ready to execute your emergency plans when the Emergency Management authorities issue protective action decisions.

For help and assistance in preparing your Disaster Evacuation Plans contact Levy County Emergency Management.
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