Feb. 15, 2021MEDIA CONTACT:
City Offices Partially Closed Tuesday, Feb. 16 Due to Severe Weather
City of Pensacola offices will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 16 until 1 p.m., except for essential personnel with a role in preparation or response during freezing conditions. Offices are expected to reopen at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, weather permitting. As a reminder, City Hall and some city services have shifted to online or phone only due to COVID-19. To learn more and for a list of contact information for City of Pensacola departments, click here.
Cold Weather Shelters
- Potential bridge closures are difficult to anticipate, but law enforcement will continue to monitor bridge conditions and make determinations based on public safety.
- To check real-time road and bridge closures in Escambia County 24/7, click here. For the City of Pensacola road and bridge closures, click here.
- Women and Children (children under 18) tonight and most likely tomorrow: Ensley First Baptist Church, 50 West Johnson Pensacola FL 32534. No pets are allowed; check-in is from 6 p.m. -8:30 p.m. check-out is at 7 a.m.
- Men: Waterfront Rescue Mission, 380 West Herman Street Pensacola FL 32505. There is no fee tonight.
Weather Update from the Emergency Operating Center (Updated Feb. 15 at 12 p.m.)
Severe Weather Warning for Escambia County
Overview: The freezing line has begun to move into Wayne, Perry, Stone counties in Mississippi and northwestern Choctaw county in Alabama. Increasing freezing rain is likely through about 1 p.m. Freezing rain totals could approach one-tenth of an inch, and some isolated locations could approach two-tenths of an inch. Once the rain stops, some freezing drizzle seems possible, and the winter weather advisory may be extended into the overnight hours. Accretions during freezing drizzle will be minor.
Impacts: Roads will become hazardous quickly as temperatures drop into the 20s. The rain that has already fallen will freeze to elevated road surfaces and the freezing rain on top of it. Accretion on trees could bring limbs down and impact power lines leading to some power outages.
Overview: Severe weather threat has increased as a line of supercells has developed over the open gulf waters. These storms will move inland over the northwest Florida Panhandle this afternoon beginning as early as noon and progressing through around 5 p.m. This threat will be conditional on how far inland the instability will make it. Confidence is growing for at least some instability to move inland this afternoon.
Damaging winds- Damaging winds will be possible especially where instability along the coast is realized. Confidence is moderate to high.
Tornadoes- A tornado or two could be possible especially in southern Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. Confidence is Low.
Hail- Some hail could be possible, especially further inland. Confidence is Low to Moderate.
Freezing Cold and Black Ice
Overview: Temperatures will plummet tonight into the upper teens to low 20s across most of the area. Winds will remain elevated as well, leading to wind chills in the single digits to low teens. Given the widespread rain, any roads that are still wet will likely form black ice even as far southeast as coastal Florida.
Impacts: Long duration hard freeze conditions will persist along the I-65 corridor and west. Black ice will be likely on area roads across most of the area, including coastal bridges and overpasses. Ice could continue into the early morning hours as it will take several hours to increase above freezing.
Driving Safety Tips
Beware of "black ice." On asphalt or dark-colored roads, this ice appears black making it difficult to see. When driving, following these tips:
- Keep at least eight to 10 seconds following distance from the vehicle in front of you
- Don't hit the brakes to avoid a skid. Hold your steering wheel as steady as you can.
- Use extra caution when on our many bridges and overpasses. Bridges freeze before roads.
- Avoid over-correcting your steering if you start to slide or skid.
- If you can wait until it warms up and morning traffic slows down, do so.
Cold Weather Safety
Citizens are also urged to remember the five P's of cold weather safety:
- Protect People: Remember to dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves. It is essential to try to stay out of the wind and to stay dry. Remember to check on young children and the older family and neighbors who are the most sensitive to cold weather. If the temperature cannot be maintained at home, make temporary arrangements to stay elsewhere, including with friends and family.
- Protect Pets: Be sure to bring outdoor pets inside or give them a warm shelter to stay in.
- Protect Plants: Cover cold-sensitive plants to protect them from dangerous temperatures.
- Protect Pipes: Cover pipes and allow outdoor faucets to drip to prevent from freezing and breaking slowly.
- Practice Fire Safety: Use safe heating sources indoors. Do not use fuel-burning devices such as grills; they release carbon monoxide, a deadly gas. Also, make sure to use space heaters according to their instructions and be attentive to open flames. Space heaters need space!
For more information, monitor the local media and legitimate online and social media sources like Escambia County Emergency Management, US National Weather Service Mobile, and Florida SERT.