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Florida DEM urges caution as a tropical disturbance could bring heavy rain to the Panhandle

The Florida Division of Emergency Management is urging residents to keep cautious as a tropical disturbance could bring heavy, widespread rainfall to the Panhandle and Big Bend area.

A tropical disturbance off the coast of North Florida moving westward through the Gulf of Mexico is producing large, disorganized showers and thunderstorms. As of today, the disturbance currently has a low chance of development into a tropical storm according to the National Hurricane Center.

Regardless of development, the area could experience significant, damaging amounts of rain over the next few days. Potential Tropical Cyclone One brought nearly a foot of rain and widespread flooding to Miami last month. Whether a storm is named or not, heavy rains can still bring with it dangerous conditions that Floridians should be aware of.

In an email statement, Amelia Johnson of the Florida Department of Emergency Management says Residents should make sure they have multiple ways to receive weather alerts. Johnson says residents should be ready to immediately move to higher ground should local officials issue a flash flood warning. Additionally, she warns that should an area flood, that it is never safe to walk or drive through flood waters.

According to the CDC, floodwaters can contain dangers like downed power lines, hazardous waste, harmful debris or wild animals like snakes. If you come into contact with floodwater, the CDC advises to wash yourself with soap and clean water, take care of any open wounds by seeking medical attention, and wash contaminated clothes before reusing them.