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Florida Tornadoes Rated as Strong EF3s

| 5:26 pm February 3, 2007 | Comments (3)

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE FL
615 PM EST SAT FEB 3 2007

…THE LATEST FIELD REPORT FROM BOTH THE LAKE COUNTY AND VOLUSIA
COUNTY SURVEY TEAMS REGARDING YESTERDAYS KILLER TORNADO EVENT…

…DAMAGE SURVEYS NOW INDICATE THAT AT LEAST THREE TORNADOES ARE
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION…

A PRELIMINARY STORM SURVEY CONTINUES IN BOTH LAKE AND VOLUSIA
COUNTIES WHERE EXPERT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SURVEY TEAMS ARE
ASSESSING THE DEVASTATION. THE LATEST REPORT FROM THE LAKE COUNTY
TEAM IS THAT THE TORNADO WHICH RIPPED THROUGH THE VILLAGES AND LADY
LAKE WAS HIGH END EF-3 WITH WINDS OF 155 TO 160 MPH. THE FIRST OF
THREE TORNADOES INITIALLY TOUCHED DOWN IN SUMTER COUNTY NEAR
WILDWOOD AND THE VILLAGES AND THEN CROSSED OVER INTO LAKE COUNTY TO
STRIKE LADY LAKE WHERE THE FIRST EVENT FATALITIES OCCURRED.
CURRENTLY…THERE ARE SIX KNOWN FATALITIES IN THE LADY LAKE AREA.

THE VILLAGES/LADY LAKE TORNADO…TORNADO NUMBER 1…HAS BEEN
CLASSIFIED AS AN EF-3 TORNADO WHICH CAUSED DAMAGE TO STRUCTURES
WHERE MOST WALLS COLLAPSED EXCEPT FOR THEIR INTERIOR ROOMS…AS WELL
AS LARGE TREES BECAME DEBARKED WITH ONLY THE STUBS OF THE LARGEST
BRANCHES REMAINING. MOBILE HOMES WERE COMPLETELY DESTROYED. THIS
TORNADO WAS ONE-QUARTER MILE WIDE DURING ITS MOST FIERCE MOMENTS.
THE TORNADO LIFTED EAST OF LADY LAKE WITH AN APPROXIMATE PATH LENGTH
OF ABOUT 15 MILES. THE TORNADO STRUCK LADY LAKE AT 320 AM.
AGAIN…SIX KNOWN FATALITIES ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS TORNADO.

THE LAKE MACK/DELAND TORNADO…TORNADO NUMBER 2…WAS ALSO HIGH END
EF-3 WITH WINDS OF 160 TO 165 MPH. IT WAS ALSO ONE-QUARTER MILE
WIDE. IT RESULTED IN COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF MOBILE HOMES…AND
CAUSED LARGE TREES TO BECOME DEBARKED. THE ESTIMATED TORNADO WINDS
NEAR LAKE MACK PEAKED AT 165 MPH WHICH RESULTED IN 11
FATALITIES…AND 150 TO 155 MPH WINDS AT FOREST DRIVE AND STATE ROAD
44 WHICH RESULTED IN 3 MORE FATALITIES. A TOTAL OF 14 KNOWN
FATALITIES OCCURRED WITH THIS DEADLY TORNADO. THE TORNADO CONTINUED
ACROSS THE COUNTY LINE NEAR HONTOON ISLAND…CROSSING INTO VOLUSIA
COUNTY…AND STRIKING DELAND AS A HIGH END EF-2 TORNADO WITH WINDS
OF 130 TO 135 MPH AS REPORTED BY THE VOLUSIA COUNTY TEAM. IT WAS
ONE-EIGHTH MILE WIDE AND LIFTED EAST OF INTERSTATE 4 NEAR THE
VOLUSIA COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS. THE PATH LENGTH WAS APPROXIMATELY 22
MILES. THE TORNADO STRUCK LAKE MACK AT 348 AM AND DELAND AT 402 AM.

THE NEW SMYRNA BEACH/PONCE INLET TORNADO…TORNADO NUMBER THREE…
HAS BEEN INITIALLY RATED AS AN EF-1 TORNADO WITH WINDS OF 100 TO 105
MPH. THE TORNADO UPLIFTED ROOFS ON MANY STRUCTURES…CAUSING A
SIGNIFICANT LOSS OF ROOFING MATERIAL…THE COLLAPSE OF CHIMNEYS…
AND COLLAPSING GARAGE DOORS. ADDITIONAL DAMAGE OCCURRED TO PORCHES
AND CAR PORTS. THIS TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN JUST EAST OF INTERSTATE 95
NORTH OF HIGHWAY 44 IN NEW SMYRNA BEACH AND MOVED THROUGH PONCE
INLET. THE PATH LENGTH IS ABOUT 5 MILES. THE TORNADO STRUCK PONCE
INLET AT 427 AM.

THIS STATEMENT IS ONLY AN INITIAL REPORTING FROM THE SURVEY TEAMS.
IN THE COMING DAYS…CONSIDERABLE EFFORT WILL BE INVESTED TO ENSURE
THAT THIS HISTORICAL EVENT IS ACCURATELY DOCUMENTED.

A WORD ABOUT THE NEW ENHANCED FUJITA (EF) TORNADO SCALE…THE
EF-SCALE WAS DEVELOPED TO BETTER ASSESS WIND SPEEDS ASSOCIATED WITH
A WIDE VARIETY OF STRUCTURAL DAMAGE…FROM SINGLE-WIDE MOBILE HOMES
TO INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS TO FRAMED ONE OR TWO FAMILY HOMES…AND MANY
MORE. THIS SCALE IS CONSIDERED A DAMAGE SCALE…WHEREAS THE
TRADITIONAL FUJITA SCALE (F-SCALE) WAS MORE OF A WIND SPEED SCALE.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE NEW EF-SCALE…PLEASE SEE THE FOLLOWING
WEBSITE:

HTTP://WWW.SPC.NOAA.GOV/FSCALE

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  1. Andy too says:

    Hey Bill… I really meant to remark on your Ray White piece, but noticed that here in IE 7.0 land, the pics errored out and an “Entry Not Found” dialogue box appears when trying to add a comment. It’s just a heads up in case this is true for others as well. Anyway, that was great stuff and is of solace to those of us still working on what we “really wanna do when we grow up”, even though we’re *supposed* to have known years ago. ;)

    Andy

  2. Andy too says:

    ooops… nevermind. Both of the issues I describe above cleared up following my above post… sorry.

  3. Rob Buell says:

    Ok, the F-Scale could be enhanced…why can’t the criteria for what is, and what is not, a “severe thunderstorm” be enhanced?

    If the new EF-Scale can “continue to support and maintain the original tornado database,” then surely somebody could apply a parallel thought process to enhancing severe thunderstorm criteria as well.

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