FWB Winter Weather Safety Updates

FWB Winter Weather Safety Updates

We’ve been roving the local information outlets and have put together some of the latest updates for you! We’ll add to it as we receive more, but please stay tuned to your trusted local weather and public service providers! Spread the word and stay warm and safe in the Fort!

Due to prolonged freezing temperatures, business property owners and tenants in the City of Fort Walton Beach may experience a disruption of water service caused by frozen backflow preventers. Since most commercial backflows are above ground, they are susceptible to freezing without proper insulation. Backflow prevention devices are usually located next to the City water meter.

Upon opening your business, if you do not have running water, please contact the City at (850) 833-9613 to report the outage. City crews are already moving about the City and assessing the water system.

If the backflow device is frozen, please allow it to thaw and inspect it for cracks and leaks. Ice expansion from the prolonged freeze could result in cracked pipes or valves, which will not be readily visible until the ice melts.

If a leak is discovered, the property owner will need to contact a plumber as the backflow device is the responsibility of the property owner. City crews can assist in determining the issue but cannot repair or replace backflow devices. If your backflow preventer doesn’t have a cover, you can cover or wrap it yourself to help insulate it from the cold.

A light wintry mix will be possible today and tonight over much of the area. The precip is expected to move over west-central Alabama and interior southeast Mississippi by the mid-afternoon hours, then reach the coast and Florida panhandle by mid to late evening. Snow accumulations are generally expected to be one half inch or less, though a burst of locally heavier snow may bring isolated totals up to or just over an inch, mainly over inland areas. These brief bursts of heavier snow could also produce slick spots on roads, especially bridges and overpasses. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for much of the area from noon today until 6am CST Wednesday.

Very cold temperatures move in quickly behind the wintry mix, leading to the potential for black ice late tonight as any residual moisture left on roads will freeze. A Hard Freeze Warning is in effect generally along and west of the I-65 corridor tonight, where low temps will range from the mid teens to around 20 degrees.

Dangerous wind chill values in the single digits are also expected tonight across much of the area. A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect from midnight tonight until 11 am Wednesday morning.

After consultation with the Okaloosa County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and neighboring school districts; all after school activities for today, Tuesday, January 16th, are canceled with the exception of tutoring and after school day care. We are expecting icy road conditions and dangerously low wind chill temperatures tonight and tomorrow. In addition, school and all activities are canceled tomorrow, Wednesday, January 17th.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will conduct winter weather operations beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16 in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties in preparation for Winter Storm Inga. Operations will continue at 8 p.m. beginning in Walton County and move east throughout the evening into Jackson County.
Motorists may notice an increased number of FDOT vehicles on state routes as FDOT maintenance and operations staff monitor winter weather conditions on bridges and roadways. FDOT crews will deploy various ice and snow removal equipment including snow plows and salt and chemical spreaders throughout the area.
FDOT’s winter weather plan has been developed to keep Florida’s highway system safe and operational in all types of weather conditions.
If road conditions are hazardous, avoid driving if possible. Wait until road and weather conditions improve before venturing out in your vehicle. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.

One Hopeful Place will be open during the evenings this week for anyone needing to escape the cold weather. Transportation will be provided from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. from First United Methodist Church located on First Street in downtown Fort Walton Beach.