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Old 18-02-2008, 09:56   #1
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Tornados in Florida in February?

This is our first winter aboard in northeast Florida and the second tornado watch in the last week was just posted. Is this common? Or is this a climate-change phenomenon?

And what's the best strategy if a tornado hits? We're in a well-protected marina. Should we stay with the boat or find good shelter ashore? Thanks.
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Old 18-02-2008, 10:31   #2
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Originally Posted by dennisjay View Post
This is our first winter aboard in northeast Florida and the second tornado watch in the last week was just posted. Is this common? Or is this a climate-change phenomenon?

And what's the best strategy if a tornado hits? We're in a well-protected marina. Should we stay with the boat or find good shelter ashore? Thanks.
I think the best prep for a tornado is to get into a concrete bunker.

Nothing you can do with the boat but hope...
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Old 18-02-2008, 11:30   #3
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Tornados are not common in FL in the winter. But, that's true of a lot of places that have had winter tornados this year.
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Old 18-02-2008, 11:41   #4
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IMO

The only phenomenon to change have been advances in radar and population density.

OH, and some complaints that "no one told me there was a tornado coming, where is my handout?"

Some winters the fronts move fast and carry lots of rain/thunderstorms and ............ yup...........tornados.
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Old 18-02-2008, 11:42   #5
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Being based out of the Florida Keys for ten years we have found it not that uncommon for tornado's in the winter. This season though seems to be more than usual. It is not advised to stay on the boat since if you have a direct hit there is nothing you can do and you are exposed. You need to seek a shelter that is as low to the ground and as strong as possible. Even under a bridge structure or a storm drain is probably safer than the boat. You should make your preparations well in advance. we just had a water spout go through the marina harbor here in Houston with that same storm front.
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Old 20-02-2008, 13:28   #6
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Having lived in Florida from North to South over the past 35 years... Tornado's in any season are rather common. In the Winter season they are predominately in the Northern areas and result from strong fronts moving in from the west and occasionally something popping up from the East. The still rather warm Gulf shoots warmer air North and causes a squall line often hundred of miles long from well into the Gulf up into Alabama and Georgia and often into Tennessee and beyond. Last Sunday this occurred and some damage occurred along a wide path from the Florida Panhandle into Alabama.

Is it something recent? No... been the same way for about 100 years of recorded weather reporting according to local weather man.

While the Pacific winds often contribute or deter problematic Florida Weather... how they are correlated to other Global factors is anyones guess.... why not just blame the Federal Government another easy target.

Being on a boat with tornado activity near by isn't something I care to face again. In both the Atlantic waters off Brevard County and in the Gulf waters off Walton County I've had to try to out flank water spouts on several occasions and once in each location sisters... fortunately they were sufficient distance away and we were able to avoid them with out any problems other than weak knees and possibly dirty shorts.

While it is often possible to predict higher potential for these occurances... they are often just Thunder Storm predictions that grow into something with little notice possible for someone out for a sail. Keep a weather eye... 360
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Old 25-02-2008, 09:29   #7
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Dennis, I would suspect that the higher than normal tornado activity this year is likely from La Nina. There is a moderate La Nina in the Pacific ocean and this brings warmer than average temps to the S.E. USA. When this warmer air mass encounters the cold winter air mass from the north you can get some violent weather. Scott
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Old 26-02-2008, 05:52   #8
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The above-average number of Tornados, so far this year, is a bit surprising considering the strong La Niña weather pattern - which I would have expected to decrease Thunderstorm & Tornado activity.

F4 Tornadoes have only occurred on two dates in Florida History:
15 April 1958 and 4 April 1966 - Both Strong El Nino Years!
Comparison of Confirmed Florida Tornadoes By F-Scale in Strong EL Nino and La Nina Years From Official Storm Data Records:
Florida Tornado Comparison between El Nino Year and La Nina Year

Florida is positioned so the winter subtropical jet stream often bisects the state. This sets up conditions favorable for strong tornado development. La Nina's cooler waters result in weather patterns that tend to pull thunderstorms north of Florida, bringing warm, dry air into the state.
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Old 26-02-2008, 06:13   #9
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Tornado

We've been through 2 rounds in FL... this last bout where a tornado hit in Cocoa, we were anchored about 8 miles north. We saw 40-50 for a good extended period.

Huricane Wilma spawned the record for the longest continuous tornado warning for the state....I don't remember the length but it was well over 6 hours we saw lightning without a 2 second interval between shots... wicked.
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Old 29-02-2008, 00:26   #10
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You may want to check out the fol site which shows the prediction of the jetstream.
CRWS Jet Stream Map Menu
This year's La Nina has been getting a lot of attention as it has more of a bight than usual. There have been studies showing that La Nina accounts for a greater number of tornadoes in the mid-west, Ohio and Tennessee valleys. This year's La Nina is bringing very cold air from the arctic further south which is interacting with the warmer air, making for violent weather. The jetstream seems to be wandering between north of Florida and then south, also adding to the dilemma.
Scott
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