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Environment

Elevated Tornado Risk With Approaching Storm

DamageRisk-FPBS.jpg
FPREN

While the Mid-Atlantic states prepare for what could me a historic snowfall, we're watching the cold front associated with this storm that could bring severe weather, including tornadoes, to the Tampa Bay area.

In only eight days earlier this month, three strong tornadoes touched down in Florida. Prior to that, only three had been recorded since 2008, a span of over seven years. Chances of another tornado event are growing Friday, and similar to last weekend’s storms, it could hit before dawn in some areas.

Timing the Tornado Risk on Friday

- West side of FL panhandle (Pensacola to PCB): 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
- FL panhandle near Tallahassee: 4 to 7 a.m.
- Nature Coast: 6 to 10 a.m.
- Inland North Florida (along/east of I-75): 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Sun Coast (Tampa to Sarasota): Noon to 4 p.m.
- South and east Florida (Ft. Myers, Melbourne, Ft. Pierce, Miami) 3 to 7 p.m.

-An active jet stream, enhanced by the current El Nino, will send yet another strong cold front across the peninsula Friday. This will be the triggering mechanism for a line of thunderstorms that could race eastward at speeds up to 50 mph. You don’t have to tell the hundreds of residents in southwest Florida still cleaning up from last week’s squall line how an El Nino can affect our weather. Not only is there a 60 percent increase in the number of tornadoes during the phenomenon, there’s a good chance (32%) of them being an EF-2 or stronger, with winds over 100 mph.

The Florida Public Radio Emergency Network and this station will continue to monitor this situation and overnight, providing updates on Twitter @FloridaStorms or via the mobile app, Florida Storms.