For anyone living in Sarasota or the Tampa Bay area, you might be wondering if you need to gear up for another eventful tornado season that could lead to significant property damage. But wait-does Florida actually have a tornado season? Last year around this same time, residents of West Central Florida were eagerly waiting for hurricane season to come to a close (which ends November 30 in Florida). Yet just a short time later, the Gulf Coast experienced a number of very serious storms that produced damaging tornadoes.
Indeed, this past January, an article in the Tampa Bay Times reported on a tornado that touched down in Southwest Florida and caused damage to 200 homes, totaling more than $6 million in damage. Another tornado around the same time caused serious harm in a mobile home park in Manatee County. The article reminded readers of the early months of 2007, in which damaging tornadoes killed more than 20 people in West Central Florida and produced substantial property damage. But by and large, the article attributed the severe storms capable of producing tornadoes to the El Niño, suggesting that residents of the Tampa Bay area do not need to prepare for tornadoes in the same manner as last year around this same time. But do statistics about tornado seasons confirm this?
Tornado Season in West Central Florida
According to a fact sheet from the Florida Climate Center and the Office of the State Climatologist, especially destructive tornadoes tend to be reported most often in Florida during the spring and summer months, and between those two seasons, most often in the spring. The fact sheet clarifies that "Florida has the dubious distinction of having a higher frequency of tornadoes per 10,000 square miles than any other state." And, "the coast between Tampa Bay and Fort Myers has a particularly high incidence" of tornadoes. Yet as you might recall, most of the tornado activity last year in West Central Florida occurred during the winter. Was last year truly an anomaly?
An FAQ sheet from FloridaDisaster.org, a division of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, highlights how "tornadoes in Florida can form in a variety of ways, and in all seasons." That FAQ sheet confirms that a majority of tornadoes, if they are going to occur, usually happen between February and September. Yet tornadoes are, in fact, possible during the fall and winter seasons, and "severe supercells along a squall line ahead of a cold front" can produce particularly damaging tornadoes between October and January.
Being Prepared for a Tornado
Even though experts do not expect a tornado season in the Tampa Bay area like last year's given the absence of an El Niño event this coming year, you should leave yourself unprepared in the event that a tornado does strike your area. While you likely will not have the same amount of preparation time for your home that you often have when a hurricane is likely to hit, you can be sure that you and your family are physically safe from harm. The FAQ sheet recommends doing the following to be prepared for a tornado at all times of year:
● Identify a safe room in your home and ensure that everyone in your family knows where to go;
● Buy and learn how to use an NOAA weather radio; and
● Engage in community awareness and preparedness for tornadoes, focusing on whether your particular community is "StormReady."
Contact a Tampa Bay Tornado Damage Lawyer
If your home sustains damage in a tornado, an experienced Tampa tornado damage attorney can help with your claim. Contact the Wells Law Group, P.A. for more information.