Tornadoes have unique characteristics in Florida, and understanding what to expect will give you more knowledge and a better understanding of how to react.

Emergency Numbers to Know

Emergency numbers that you should know if you find yourself in a tornado or other emergency.

Florida Tornadoes

When a Tornado Warning is issued, you have little time to make decisions. Advance planning and quick response is a key to survival.

When the jet stream digs south into Florida and is accompanied by a strong cold front and strong squall line of thunderstorms, the jet stream's high level winds often strengthen a thunderstorm into what meteorologists call a supercell or mesocyclone. These powerful storms can move at speeds of 30-50 mph, produce dangerous downburst winds, large hail and most deadly tornadoes. Damage from a tornado is a result of the high wind velocity and windblown debris. Over 80% of all tornadoes strike between noon and midnight.

Florida Tornado Facts
  • Florida is the 3rd state for tornado occurrence in the United States.
  • Many Florida tornados are rain-wrapped and cannot be easily seen.
  • Florida's tornado season is all year long.
  • The strongest tornados are more likely to occur in the winter or early spring months and many times at night.
  • Florida Tornadoes can be exceptionally fast some moving at speeds of 70 mph. Act when warnings are issued. You may not see or hear it coming.
  • Though most Florida tornadoes are weaker, they can be strong at times. Especially during the winter and early spring months.
  • The average lead time from warning to when the storm strikes are about 12 minutes. It could be more...or less. Act immediately on warnings.
  • Flagler County has had 24 confirmed tornadoes since 1970 when records began to be kept. There may have and likely has been more due to under-reporting.
  • Sometimes a tornado will strike without a warning. Even with storm spotters and Doppler radar, sometimes tornadoes will form suddenly. If threatening weather approaches seek shelter quickly.
Florida Tornado Myths
  • Opening Windows to equal pressure. This actually can CAUSE more damage and also delay one from seeking shelter
  • Parking under an overpass. This is a very dangerous place to be as the winds are intensified through the passage under the overpass.
  • The sky turns green means a tornado is coming. Not always...the "green sky" is more associated with hail. Many tornados are rain-wrapped and hard to see.