Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week - Tornadoes

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By: Charles Roop | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 24, 2018

Courtesy of MGN Online

This story is a part of Florida’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. For day three, it’s about tornadoes and thunderstorms.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — This week was another wake up call for South Georgia and the Big Bend. The wake up call was the calendar reminding us what monstrosity that Mother Nature spawned a year ago in South Georgia in the form of tornadoes. The tornadoes in places like Albany and Adel took over a dozen lives.

Tornadoes are rotating columns of air that stretch from the cloud to the ground. Funnels that don’t make it to the ground are just known as funnel clouds. Winds inside can reach up to 300 mph, and they move place to place rather quickly; sometimes in excess of 70 miles per hour.

Typically, we don't see tornadoes that strong here in Florida. The most recent deadly outbreak in The Sunshine State was back in February, 1998. The strongest tornado in that Central Florida outbreak had winds of up to 200 mph.

With the tornadoes in South Georgia in 2017, it's a reminder that these storms can happen almost anywhere.

Next time there's a tornado warning, it’s best to immediately seek shelter. Stay away from windows, and move into the center part of your home to put as many layers between you and the outside world as possible. Unless it’s a steel-reinforced concrete structure, debris will be blown through walls.

Don't waste time opening windows to equalize the pressure, as this is one old myth. Science shows a building is never 100-percent sealed.

If one is driving down a highway, an overpass is not the best place to hide. The winds are stronger, and that debris can pile up along the overpass. The best thing to do is to get out of your car and find a low-lying spot to wait it out.

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