Escambia County is encouraging residents to closely monitor the weather forecast today, Saturday, Jan. 11 and take precautions as needed. The National Weather Service of Mobile is forecasting local impacts to include rainfall, potentially damaging straight-line winds, high risk of rip currents, high surf and potentially isolated tornadoes.
A Tornado Watch and a Wind Advisory are in effect until 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. tonight. According to NWS Mobile, a squall line will move across our region this afternoon around 4 p.m. Damaging winds in excess of 70 mph are possible as well as embedded tornadoes. A limited flooding threat is possible. Locally heavy rainfall in a short period of time could contribute to urban or minor flooding in some areas.
High surf is expected to build to 5-8 feet late Saturday morning through Sunday morning, with dangerous rip currents present. Pensacola Beach is flying a red flag, with red flags anticipated through Sunday evening. While red flags are in place, all beach goers will only be allowed access to the sand and shore, and will not be allowed to swim or wade in the Gulf of Mexico. More information on the flag system is available online here.
Follow these tips to stay safe during severe weather:
- Pay extra attention to local weather reports until the storm has moved through the area. Be sure to keep your weather radio on and your cell phone charged to ensure you can receive weather alerts.
- With the possibility of high winds, it is recommended that any lightweight outside furniture or equipment be secured before Saturday afternoon.
- Organizations with planned outside activities during this Enhanced Risk period need to be weather aware and take the appropriate actions.
- In the event of a Tornado Warning, move to an interior room on the lowest floor of your home or building. Stay away from windows.
- Turn around, don't drown: In the event of a roadway covered by water, do not attempt to drive over the flooded road. Water depth may be misleading, and you could end up stranded or trapped.
For the latest information on severe weather impacting Escambia County, residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts on myescambia.com, like Escambia County Emergency Management on Facebook and follow @BeReadyEscambia on Twitter.
Stay informed with these additional local resources: