On July 24, 2018, Emergency Management Director Cecilia Patella informed County Commissioners that Hernando County received re-certification, from the National Weather Service, for the StormReady program. This recognition is valid through August 7, 2021. When a county is deemed StormReady by the National Weather Service they are better prepared to protect life and property from the onslaught of hazardous weather through better planning, education, and awareness. Ms. Patella explained recertification has to be completed every 3 years to ensure the public is aware of hazardous weather and have a 24-hour warning point. This is done via the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office through the 911 communication center and the emergency operation center (EOC).
Education is completed by EOC staff through community events, such as nursing home visits, and organizations who requests information on hazardous weather and how to be prepared. EOC communicates regularly with the National Weather Service including visits to the National Weather Station in Ruskin. This is to keep communication open in order to understand what they are doing and so they can understand the needs of Hernando County.
The National Weather Service wants to ensure the county has the ability to monitor weather in real time and provide any warning to the public. This year Hernando County has initiated a weather app that can be downloaded on apple and android phones. The weather station is on the roof of EOC and can provide accurate information for Hernando County. The app is called WeatherLink. Once the app is downloaded citizens will need to enter a username, password and Hernando County EOC. Once the application is completed it will provide accurate real-time information including temperature, forecast, rain, and wind speed.
Emergency management also has also a notification system citizens can sign up for. This will alert you to any emergencies and other important community news and provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather and important community news. In order to receive either text messages, phone calls or emails one must go to the Emergency Alert System website Alert Hernando. This is an automated system. The messages are time-sensitive and will alert you wherever you specify.
County administrator, Leonard B. Sossamon mentioned a concern regarding the amount of rain we have received in the last 6 months as this has been the second wettest year in history. Ms. Patella confirmed this and mentioned that the amount of rain in July has increased the concern. She stated that monitoring is in place specifically at the Withlacoochee river gauge, as that is a marker of concern. The gauge at Trilby is at 6.54 feet. When the water level reaches 12-feet at Trilby, it’s considered flood stage there. The Dunnellon River gauge is going into flood stage, indicating that local rainfall is impacting the river. Some of Green Swamp is also flowing north toward Hernando County so the ground is saturated.
Mr. Steve Champion, Chairman of the County Commission appreciated the excellent job the EOC is doing in keeping Hernando County safe.
To sign up for WeatherLink online go to:
or look it up in your phone’s app store.