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Thunderstorms in Florida on Thunderstorm Awareness Day

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Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 7:15 am

On this third day of Severe Weather Awareness Week attention is focused on tornadoes and thunderstorms.  That's very appropriate for the Suncoast as Florida leads the nation in lightning deaths and places third in average number of tornadoes.

A cold front sinking south will bring thunderstorms to the state over the next day or two. The primary threat for north Florida will be damaging winds.  That is just one of  the hazards that accompanies our most common weather threat.

It may be a surprise to some but Florida ranks 3rd in the nation in the number of tornadoes. 

Average Yearly Tornadoes

Because of the twisting winds associated with colliding sea breezes, frontal passages and thunderstorm winds, the updrafts of Florida frequently spin. When the spin becomes strong enough tornadoes form. Most Florid tornadoes are of the weak variety but a few can become powerful and do damage. Florida residents should have a radio alert system or cell phone app to alert them of watches or warning.

More commonly deadly are the lightning strikes that come with thunderstorms.  Because of our moist Florida air and colliding sea breezes, Florida leads the nation in lightning strikes and deaths.  All of the deaths last year occurred in association with water or beach activity or being to close to an outside metal object.  Remember, if you hear thunder you are in danger of a lightning strike and should seek safe shelter.

National Lightning Density

Other thunderstorm threats include hail and strong damaging winds.

John Scalzi

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